Patterico's Pontifications


About Heroes

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I’ve been reading about Marcus Luttrell. He is the author of Lone Survivor, the gripping eye-witness account of U.S. Navy Seal Team 10 and Operation Redwing mission. The book was recently made into a film. Luttrell knows stuff. Stuff most of us will never know. But he makes us understand what a soldier’s service to country means:

“The idea…that our professional military men and women train for years without knowing whether they will ever have to actually carry out their missions to the fullest extent of their abilities is the very heart of what service is all about. Heroes aren’t designated in advance. Everyone must always be ready to execute.

In my experience, it’s always the greatest heroes who claim they never did anything beyond what any of their buddies would have done in the same situation. Our training and our culture breed that response into us all, no matter what war we were part of. You train yourself to a standard and thereby make yourself interchangeable with others who share the same standard. And that gives everyone an equal claim to the pride that goes with having served your country.”

“Once in a while some guys get put up for decorations and a ceremony takes place somewhere. You see them in dress uniforms, standing proud. But that’s politics and theater. You should see them as I have, downrange, in action. They’re amazing to watch, risking their lives to serve their country. I don’t like to talk about valor awards. I don’t think it’s useful to think about them. We just go to work, and it’s the work itself that tells us who we are. Our pride is no less without the fanfare.”

Recent Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter echoed Luttrell when awarded his medal:

You always hear ‘band of brothers,’ and that’s exactly what we are,” he said. “I’ll say I’m not surprised and no way patting myself on the back, because I know that if you put a thousand Marines in that situation, they would all do the same exact thing for me.”

And then I saw this making the rounds on the interwebs:

You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy.

Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.

(The author who wrote this asinine bit is the one on the right. Obviously.)


Obama: We Need to Regulate the Internet, for Freedom!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 pm

“Net neutrality” is government’s name for getting the FCC maximally involved in regulating the Internet. Sound like a great idea? Obama thinks so.

At the L.A. Times, David Lazarus frames the issue this way: Do you trust telecom industry? That’s why we need open Internet.

At, we frame the issue this way: Do you trust the federal government? That’s why we need no regulation by the FCC.

Another Speak-O: ObamaCare Architect Jonathan Gruber Bragged About Passing ObamaCare By Fooling the American People

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:58 pm

Rarely is a lefty this honest about his dishonest intentions. Circulate the video far and wide:

Marvel at his straightforward honesty about the Democrats’ dishonesty:

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in – you made it explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical to get anything to pass. And so, you know, it’s a second-best argument. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.

Well, sure. As he says, if CBO scored the mandate as a tax, the bill would have died. If you told people that healthy people were going to pay for sick people, it would not have passed. So yes: they deliberately wrote the bill in a tortured fashion to hide these things. Duh.

But that’s not all they hid. Passing this bill required a whole series of deliberate lies.

If they told people: if you like your doctor, too bad because you are going to lose him, the bill would have died.

If they said: if you like your plan, too bad, because we’re going to replace it with a more expensive one that has a bunch of stuff you don’t need, the bill does not pass.

If they had been honest with people and said: the penalty for avoiding the mandate is a tax, and we are going to go to court and argue that it’s a tax — the bill probably would have died.

And if they had said: the federal government is cramming this down people’s throats, and it doesn’t matter if states participate or not . . . the bill would not have gotten Ben Nelson’s vote, and would have died.

That’s OK: the Scott Lemieuxes and Brian Beutlers of the world will still call you a “Halbig troofer” if you make that last point.

Watch them ignore this guy or pretend he had nothing to do with ObamaCare. Remember: the New York Times called him “Mr. Mandate.” He was basically the architect of the bill. And he just told you, in no uncertain terms, that they had to lie to the public to get it to pass.

If the GOP does not put this on endless loop for the next two years, until every American has seen it multiple times, they are idiots.

How Dishonest Is Paul Krugman? This Dishonest!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

Paul Krugman has a piece titled Death by Typo: The Latest Frivolous Attack on Obamacare. It’s typical Krugman: lazy and dishonest. I decided to pick it apart anyway, as a way to review the Halbig issues in a (hopefully) straightforward and clear fashion, so that you don’t start falling for these sorts of arguments.

Krugman’s key distortion comes early in the piece:

But if you look at the specific language authorizing those subsidies, it could be taken — by an incredibly hostile reader — to say that they’re available only to Americans using state-run exchanges, not to those using the federal exchanges.

Naturally, he doesn’t tell you what that specific language is that could be twisted and misinterpreted so badly. But never fear: I will tell you.

The provision for subsidies says they are available when a health plan is purchased on an exchange “established by the state under section 1311.” There is no corresponding language stating that subsidies are available on an exchange established by the federal government. To make it even more clear, a “state” is defined in the law as “each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia” — not the federal government.

Krugman says it takes “an incredibly hostile reader” to reach the following conclusion: when the law says subsidies are available only to those who buy a plan on an exchange “established by the state,” that means subsidies are available only to those who buy a plan on an exchange established by a state.

Non-partisans might say: gee, I don’t think it’s a terribly hostile reading to, you know, read what’s there. (Side note: Krugman’s use of the phrase “state-run exchanges” shows he doesn’t understand the basic argument. It doesn’t matter who “runs” the exchanges. Under the law, what matters is who “established” them.)

Krugman claims that this interpretation would violate the “three-legged stool” of ObamaCare: 1) guaranteed issue, 2) the individual mandate, and 3) subsidies. Why would the drafters have removed one of the legs of the stool? The answer is: they didn’t think they were. Everyone assumed at the time that all the states would set up an exchange. And why make the states do it rather than the feds? To get the critical 60th vote of Ben Nelson, who claimed to be concerned about the law taking freedom from the states.

As for this being part of a political compromise, don’t take my word for it. Listen to ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber:

Through a political compromise, it was decided that states should play a critical role in running these health insurance exchanges. . . . And that is really the ultimate threat, is, will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens.

This was one of two “speak-os” in which Gruber accidentally told the truth about the law before the Halbig controversy blew up. In the other, Gruber told one audience in 2012: “if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”

Krugman does not mention Gruber’s comments when he says:

[E]verything else in the act makes it clear that this was not the drafters’ intention, and in any case you can ask them directly, and they’ll tell you that this was nothing but sloppy language.

Sure, they say that now. Prepare for a shock: the people who drafted the law (and made a bad assumption about the states setting up exchanges) now give a self-serving account of their contemporaneous intent! You don’t say!

Gruber had compared his original “speak-o” to the “typo” made by Congress: “Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it. . . . My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo.” It turns out that this comparison was remarkably apt. Like Gruber, Congress said what it meant. Like Gruber, Congress said it more than once (the phrase “established by the state” appears again and again in the law). And, like Gruber, it appears that Congress’s statement is coming back to haunt them.

So, like Gruber, Congress is now lying about it. And Paul Krugman is here to help spread the lie.

But don’t be fooled. No matter how many Paul Krugmans and Michael Hiltziks and Brian Beutlers tell you, with Serious Furrowed Brow, that there is Absolutely No Reasonable Way to Interpret the Language This Way, the fact remains that the plaintiffs in these cases are simply reading the law as written.

For conservatives to win, all they need to do is resist the leftist call to substitute “intentionalism” for textualism. As I noted this weekend, “intentionalism” as a theory for reading legal texts is dead. This here blog tried to explain this for years, but Halbig has made it clear in a way I never could. Using “intentionalism” to read laws allows leftists can twist the clearest language into anything they want it to say.

Say it with me: Only textualism preserves the rule of law.

Take that, Krugman!

Thanks to F.H.K.

A Defense Of The Christian Business Owner: “No One Should Be Forced To Do Something They Don’t Believe In”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:31 am

[guest post by Dana]

Back in 2012, Blaine Adamson, owner of the T-shirt company Hands-On Originals, was approached by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington to make shirts for an upcoming Lexington Pride Festival. Citing religious beliefs, Adamson declined:

I decided to pass on the opportunity because, as a Christian owner, I cannot in good conscience endorse groups or events that run counter to my convictions.

“Due to the promotional nature of our products, it is the prerogative of the company to refuse any order that would endorse positions that conflict with the convictions of the ownership.”

Upon having a human rights complaint filed against Hands-On Originals by the GLSO, Adamson clarified:

To be very clear, Hands On Originals does not and never has discriminated against any individuals or groups. As my earlier statement clarifies, we both employ and do business with people from all walks of life.

My decision not to print the shirts requested of us has nothing to do with who was ordering the shirts; it had only to do with the message of the shirts no matter who was ordering them.

In this situation, the message is in disagreement with my values. My faith calls me to love all people regardless of whether they share my values or not.

Fast forward to October of this year when the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission found that Anderson and Hands-On Originals discriminated against Gay and Lesbian Services Organization by refusing to print the group’s T-shirts:

“The evidence of record shows that the respondent discriminated against GLSO because of its members’ actual or imputed sexual orientation by refusing to print and sell to them the official shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival.”

Munson wrote that the application of the Fairness Ordinance did not violate the T-shirt vendor’s right to free speech and the free exercise of religion. The Human Rights Commission found in 2012 that Hands On Originals violated the city’s fairness ordinance, which prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation. Nonetheless, the hearing process continued over two more years.

Glenn Beck had an interesting interview last week with two cool free-market supporters who are small-business owners and understand the need to respect others’ personal beliefs. They also happen to be lesbians. They both came to Anderson’s defense:

“As a business owner, it struck a chord with me when I read the story, because I know how hard it is to build a business, and it’s very personal, you know? You put your blood and your sweat and your tears into every bit of it. You know, when I put myself in his place, I immediately felt like if that were to happen to us, you know, I couldn’t, you know, create or print anti-gay T-shirts, you know, for a group. I couldn’t do it,” Kathy explained.

“So when I put myself in his shoes, you know, I could see it from his side, and you know, I really felt for him. He’s got a great business, you know, and there’s a lot of us out there. There’s a lot of gay businesses that would love to do business with everybody,” she continued.

Diane added, “We feel this really isn’t a gay or straight issue. This is a human issue. No one really should be forced to do something against what they believe in. It’s as simple as that, and we feel likewise. If we were approached by an organization such as the Westboro Baptist Church, I highly doubt we would be doing business with them.”

“Everybody votes with their dollars, you know?” Kathy said. “People shop where they want to shop because they, you know, they’re comfortable with that retailer. And why you would want to go with somebody who doesn’t agree with you, you know, and there’s others who do agree with you, that’s who I want to do business with. I mean, that’s why we create what we create for our community, you know? These are our people, and we understand them, and this is what we do.”

I don’t know where these women stand on matters of faith, but it’s certainly clear they have great respect for individual rights and personal beliefs. A sensibility and reasonableness that one wishes would become pervasive in all communities, especially in those that aggressively seek to punish and drive businesses into the ground because their beliefs are different.


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