Friday, June 29, 2012

Tragic Irony

The United States Constitution was stabbed in the back and mortally wounded yesterday.  It is tragically ironic that it's blood is on the hand of our nation's highest judicial branch official.  But what should we expect from this court, who crippled the Constitution in 1973?  They have not the common sense to provide justice to the  most defenseless among us.

"Professing to be wise, they became fools..." (Rom. 1:22)


  1. Well, I agree with you! I am surprised to see your commentary on what I think of as a cycling blog. I had to check and make sure I didn't have you in the wrong group (lol). I don't know why so many people think just because I ride a bike I should subscribe to every half-wit far left agenda item. Biking has nothing to do with politics, except for in relation to roads and transportation.

  2. I think you struck a chord with this one, Chris! I prefer not to engage in political discussions online, but regardless of my feelings, I respect your opinion and I certainly won't be unsubscribing because you shared it. Sheesh!

  3. I respect the opinions of those who disagree with me, which I suspect is the majority of the "cycling community".

    I completely understand that this blog is not something everyone will enjoy. As I said in my profile, this blog is "Reflections on the bicycle, living, and spiritual matters." So I'll be tossing in reflections on political and religious matters from time to time.

    I treasure my friends (virtual and otherwise) with differing views. They help me grow.

    1. I think the views of the cycling community reflect the views of society at large. Cycling advocates reflect a decidedly more favorable view towards government than do the cycling community.

      As for the Supreme Court. I'm not sure I agree with you, though I find the notion of Obamacare as horrid as it sounds you do. Limiting the commerce clause is important and Obamacare has reached a point where a legislative solution will be required anyway.

  4. I'm a Canadian who enjoys a public health care system. It has its flaws, but I think it is worthwhile. That is not to say I have an opinion one way or another on the American approach... frankly, I have no good handle on the complexities of what is being proposed.

    I have been following this a little and am stunned by how polarizing an issue it is for Americans. As an "observer" I get to fence-sit and see how it all pans out, which is cool with me, since obviously some are incensed enough to simply reject one another outright, without discussion.

    What is the point of a blog if you can't or don't use it to say whatever you want? Let 'er rip, Pondero.

  5. "I treasure my friends with differing views. They help me grow." My Dad told me once you can only judge someone by the way they treat you. I'm not very political. You have rights to your opinions. You have always been cordial and thoughtful to me. I like your bike too.

  6. Pondero does indeed have a right to his opinions. But his readers also have a right to unsubscribe from blogs that don't mesh with their values.

  7. Hitting the imaginary "LIKE" button for this post because I subscribe to zero blogs.

    Good job on not arguing with everyone, being respectful, and having an opinion....Even though it's not popular among cyclists.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Way to go, Pondero!! Being in a community of friends, - virtual or real- does not isolate one from the real world of life. Friends understand opinions may differ.


  11. Chris, I've had a search of what happened to the US constitution yesterday and I'm still confused. I suppose that highlights the ability of blogs to be world wide and not U.S.centric. I'll keep making my porridge, reading your posts and cycling in Scotland.

  12. He didn't actually say it, but I believe Dan might be suggesting I could be imagining things.

  13. It seems to me a lot of people want to have the right to choose, yet it also seems to me there are many who whose desire would be to expect our society to pay for their choice. It is, in my opinion, a tragedy that the one who has no voice in the matter is the real victim. You can call this a "religious" argument if you wish. However, according to my medical education and experience, this one to whom I am referring is a living being; displaying the attributes of life and, yet, unborn. Everyone is entitled to their opinion (in a free society). I just shared mine. I'll keep reading this blog daily and with expectation regardless of the topic.

  14. Unsubscribing too. I am way more interested in bicycles than I am your opinions.

  15. Chris, yes, I am suggesting you're imagining things. I keep hearing people say that the Constitution is being violated/murdered/urinated upon but have yet to hear any specific accusations. WHICH part of the constitution does the SCOTUS decision violate?

    Steve A, while the original arguments had to do with the commerce clause, the final decision came down to taxation, not interstate commerce. So...there ya go. From Roberts' decision:

    The Constitution grants Congress the power to “regulate Commerce.” Art. I, §8, cl. 3 (emphasis added). The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated. If the power to “regulate” something included the power to create it, many of the provisions in the Constitution would be superfluous....

    Our precedent also reflects this understanding. As expansive as our cases construing the scope of the commerce power have been, they all have one thing in common: They uniformly describe the power as reaching “activity.” It is nearly impossible to avoid the word when
    quoting them....

    The individual mandate, however, does not regulate existing commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product, on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce. Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority."

    That is one reason I suggest many people, Chris included, are simply imagining things. Could it be that the highest court in the land has a slightly better perspective on the Constitution and legal precident? Reminds me of everyone going on and on about standing by the president no matter what under the Bush presidency. Not sure what happened to that, but it seems to parallel this irrational rejection of a SCOTUS decision. I'm all for open-ended discussion and I respect your right to your opinions, Chris, but I do suggest that you support your arguments with facts, otherwise it's just hyperbolic vitriol. You say that the justice department doesn't have common sense. What do you mean by that? Does that just mean they don't share YOUR common sense?

  16. Thanks for the suggestion, Dan, but I'm not trying to persuade you.

    Yes, they don't have what I call common sense.

  17. Disgusting thing to put in a bike blog. I'm outta here.

  18. Just a few notes...

    No one is free to choose. We all pay for the lack of universal health care whether we want to or not. As usual both sides are right.

    The uninsured make it more expensive for the rest of us. One point for the democrats.

    The fact that doctors must carry ridiculous levels of malpractice insurance and often prescribe tests and treatments that are not needed just to cover themselves is undeniable. One point for the republicans.

    The constitution is a WORKING DOCUMENT to help us all live in a moral and just society, not a sacred belief system. Think about this.

    As usual if people would drop their obsession with their beliefs and simply approach the problem of healthcare as a practical one it would be solved easily.

    It is not possible to make health care available without lowering costs which can only happen if we are all in the system. Ever met a person yet who has never been to a doctor? I haven't. But there are still a fair number of people without insurance.

    Do you like that your insurance company can dump you when you get sick or raise your premiums so you have to dump them. Well, that's the free market at work when it is out of control and working for profit in a way that has lost sight of humanity. That is one thing that universal health care has attempted to fix.

    No different than auto insurance. Before it was mandatory it was outrageously expensive. Now, not so much.

    To all the unsubscribers, what has happened to debate and discussion?

    I guess to me Chris...I would have to say that lowering health insurance costs for everyone and providing coverage for everyone is, to me, common sense. Everyone is gonna use it at some point so everyone should pay for it, and who wouldn't want to pay less for it? And like in Sweden, if you are rich you can still pay extra if you want the high class version.

    No offense, but it would be nice to see a little more info and a little less meaningless hyperbole in relation to a topic so important.

    Anyway, to you all, ride on! :)

  19. Hey, Greg, interesting points, as usual. Thanks. I haven't thought about the relationship between "mandatory" and "costs" idea. Not quite convinced yet, but I would like to think about that more.

    That said, my post was intended to be entirely about the making decisions about what is "Constitutional", and not whether the health care legislation is a good or bad idea. To me, the health care legislation is a much smaller matter.

    I was also interested in your comment about the Constitution being a "working document". In my line of work, when we refer to something as a "working document", we generally mean that it is something that evolves over time. Is this your meaning here?

    With the exception of a formal amendment process, I think of the Constitution as being fixed.

    Finally, regarding "more info" versus "meaningless hyperbole". Sorry, the purpose of this blog is to write stuff I think about. That's pretty much all. I totally understand that there aren't many people interested in what I think. In my experience, a friendly debate among friends is much more effective in person. I don't plan to use my blog for that purpose.

    Even so, I always enjoy your comments, Greg.

  20. Keep up your reflections on cycling as well as any thing else that is important to you. Still a subscriber...

  21. I agree Chris, that such discussions are better held in person.

    However... :)

    For more info on the effect of the uninsured on the insured check out this report...

    I just have been hearing a lot of talk about "the constitution" without any reference whatsoever to any part of it specifically. I mean, which article are we talking about?

    I assume article 8 which, if we want to be all historical and such, kinda says the government can regulate commerce and taxes and such.

    I don't really want to pay taxes and have them used to give tax breaks to giant corporations that make billions in profit, but it isn't unconstitutional, just unfair and kinda crappy.

    I would actually argue that since basically everyone participates in the health care system at some point, congress is not forcing people to participate in a form of commerce which they otherwise are choosing not to.

    Uninsured people are just using the medical system at our cost during emergency room visits which raise our premiums rather than at their own cost.

    And I would ay that the constitution IS a working document as it is a combination of changing interpretations over time and amendments which allow it to evolve to suit our current paradigm. The one guarantee in the world of human ideas is that everything changes, nothing stays the same. If the Constitution was set in stone and clear cut we wouldn't need 9 professional legal folks to obsess over it all the time.

    For what it's worth, I think Obama simply realized he couldn't get past the insurance industry lobby to pass fairness laws such as they can't dump us when we get sick and they can't deny folks for preexisting conditions without also having universal coverage.

    There is also a fairly convincing argument that the insurance industry would collapse if they were forced to treat us fairly unless we all participate, healthy and sick young and old.

    Anyway, don't feel obligated to post more of this stuff on your blog. Just wanted to share.

  22. "If the Constitution was set in stone and clear cut we wouldn't need 9 professional legal folks to obsess over it all the time."

    Perfect example of two guys seeing things from a different perspective. I see the that the job of the 9 professional legal folks is to obsess over making sure the Constitution IS set in stone (unless duly amended), and that the challenge comes from comparing the latest legal question against those timeless fundamental principles.

    Greg, if you ever make it down to Texas, I'll treat you to refreshment, listen to your reasoning, and try to explain my side as best I can...humbly, wobbly, and with a smile on my face. I'm actually more interested in people than I am "winning" arguments.

  23. I'd reconsider my hasty 'unsubscribe' comment if I had a better idea of what you seem to be outraged about. I think Greg is right on when he labels it hyperbole vs. reasoned writing. You sort of bait the conversation with some powerful imagery of murder and back stabbing, make a reference to Roe-V-Wade, then throw in a bible quote as icing on the cake.

    I for one can't quite get my head around any sort of discussion or point to the post.

    Here's how I've thought about this: (and I have no idea which one is right, or where you want to take it)

    #1) You are pissed that the court is forcing something on the people of the US of A. And our individual liberty and freedom is being infringed upon.

    #2) You are upset that the court (not the same court by the way, different judges, different times) upheld Roe-V.-Wade, killing 'the defenseless' among us, and they have 'blood on their hands'. Those are some strong words. If you are pissed about #1, why aren't you in support of the rights of a woman over her own body? Where is her liberty and freedom, and her privacy between her doctor, her partner, and herself?

    #3) You think that healthcare will be a tax on all, and 'others' that don't deserve it shouldn't get it, as you pay your bills, have a job, and don't 'mooch' off the system. Well, we are all moochers - roads, bridges, trains, airports, hospitals, defense, etc. etc. We really just need to prioritize that we will limit the mooching of corporations to profit from people needing medical attention.

    #4) A combination of the above.

    Anyway, I'd love it for you to enlighten me. I've stepped back from my reactionary response and poked back in here.

    As for the 'working document' - there are lots of things in the Constitution that have drifted over time.

    Freedom of Speech? We now give it to non-persons. I don't think this is good, as it takes power away from you and me.

    Your right to bear arms? We sort of let that whole 'organized militia' bit slide. And the founders likely never imagined RPGs, automatic weapons, cluster bombs, and the like. The had similar firepower to the empire they defeated, and had the tools and technology to reproduce it. We don't - so regardless of how we'd likely use the 2nd to overthrow the government, its not likely to happen when someone puts a drone up over your house and parks an M1 Abrams on the corner.

    There is no mention of 'God' in the constitution. Yet folks are determined to make this a 'Christian' nation. You know that whole separation of church and state thing? I don't want to go to the local church gym to vote. And I don't think we should have added 'under god' to the Pledge of Allegiance.

    What about protesting? That whole thing about not being infringed upon while gathering in a public space? Some folks have to get permits, to protest. How is that even remotely reasonable? The whole point of a protest is... to protest. In some cases the very people whom you have to ask for a permit. Free speech zones? Laugh.

    So, for better or for worse, I do believe that it is a document that requires interpretation. And some common sense.

    And I think right there in the opening line is justification enough to move to a more sane system of funding healthcare:

    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    Of course, we'd have to argue that 'welfare' means more than $$. And that when we extend 'welfare' to people, we aren't talking about Ronald Reagan's welfare queens, or those people mooching off the system while still owning a refrigerator, phone, and television.

  24. "Anyway, I'd love it for you to enlighten me."

    Because my own attempts at communication fall short, I'll refer you to the dissenting opinion of the minority justices (especially the last two pages), plus Justice Thomas' opinion.

    I agree with those guys.

  25. Chris, that doesn't help. Why are you upset over this, is what I want to know. Why do you feel the things you wrote?

  26. I'm at a loss. I've reached the limit of my ability to articulate. I don't think I can draw a more direct connection between the dissenting opinion, and the way and degree it describes how those 4 justices believe the Constitution is being violated, and my own disappointment.

  27. I guess I'd like to see how it relates to what you wrote.

    You have a comment on the constitution.
    You have a comment that I think refers to CJ Roberts.
    You have a comment on abortion.
    And you end with a bible quote.

    I'm not sure how the items are related, in respect to the ruling.

    Upholding a woman's right to choose seems a victory for liberty and freedom. And any argument against that invokes religion should be thrown out, immediately. Separation of church and state and all.

    Upholding a monstrous law that attempts to reform the for profit bilking of sick and not sick americans by getting everyone into the same pool, seems to be a good thing. Like all those WW2 posters about working together to defeat a common enemy. We are all going to die. We are all going to need medical care. That companies can deny you coverage because of the inevitable seems abusrd.

    We shouldn't' be buying insurance. We all know how this game ends.

    We should be buying access to quality care. The kind of care that would come from a nation who has the best bombs and planes and tanks. The kind of care that could come from a country that can put a man on the moon or in space. The kind of care from a country that on a moments notice can be ready to fly troops anywhere on the globe to 'defend freedom'. The kind of care that could come from a country comprised of upstart revolutionaries that defeated the largest empire on earth at the time...

    Anyway. I'm stepping off the comment train.
    Be well. And may you or anyone in your family never need to agonize over the choice to have a child or not (due to all sorts of reasons - medical, safety of the mother, defective heart in the fetus), and may you and your family never lose a job and with it your insurance. And if you do, may you never be denied coverage for a preexisting condition, or be denied because your insurance lapsed.

  28. I understand "separation of church and state" to have more to do with keeping the state out of religion than God out of governing. But regardless, God's view on any argument means more to me than what man says about it. He has proven to be trustworthy.

  29. Whose god? Your God, or my god? His god, or her god? What about those gods over there? What about those folks who don't believe in a supernatural deity that rules over this whole mess we call life and the universe? How do they fit in?

    Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

    And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.
    -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

  30. There is only one God, of course.

    I appreciate your interest in spiritual questions, and will be pleased to dialog further on those via email, if you wish.

    As I've not set out to persuade anyone politically with this post, and am frankly more interested in spiritual matters anyway, I think this will be the last comment on this post.