Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

“It’s the law!” is not actually an adequate defense of a law

The moment the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate to purchase health insurance under Obamacare, the primary defense of the law became “It’s the law!” Since talk began of a budget impasse over defunding this particular law, that refrain has become ubiquitous. There’s just one problem: It’s a tautology that doesn’t actually make an argument.

Every law began as a bill that was “passed by Congress, signed by the President, and approved by the Supreme Court.” Laws, once written into code, do not become inviolably permanent. Even such duly-enacted laws can be repealed or defunded by Congress (with the President’s permission or by overriding his veto). Democrats in 2007 tried to defund the Iraq war, even though it was legally authorized by Congress, i.e. “the law”.

Surprisingly (except not at all), Democrats aren’t consistent sticklers for maintaining the status quo of the law in all cases. I will list a few examples, though it should be self-evident that the “progressive” party would be generally in favor of changing the law over time.

Poll finds Abbott leads Davis by 8 points (or more?) in Texas governor race

Greg Abbott

The first poll of the Texas governor’s race since reports indicated that state senator Wendy Davis would announce her candidacy shows current Attorney General Greg Abbott leads the race by 8 points. 29% of respondents to the Lyceum poll support Abbott, 21% support Davis, and 50% are unsure.

While the uncommitted number might be surprising at first, especially given media coverage of the abortion filibuster earlier this year, both Abbott and Davis are largely unknown even in the state. A previous Public Policy Polling survey of potential candidates found 43% with no opinion of Abbott and 32% for Davis. That poll, conducted in July, showed a 48-40 lead for Abbott over Davis, with only 12% unsure.

However, there is reason to be skeptical about the new poll’s accuracy (without veering into party ID trutherism). Lyceum also asked registered Texas voters their opinion of President Obama, and 50% said they approve.

[pause for laughter]

Religious plans exempted from ObamaCare mandates go back to insurance basics

ObamaCare and religious freedom

As the opening of the Obamacare insurance exchanges and the individual mandate to purchase health insurance loom, new attention is being given to a few available options to avoid the likely catastrophe.

Section 1501, Chapter 48, Paragraph (d)(2) of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act exempts certain religions like the Amish from the individual mandate, but it also exempts members of a “health care sharing ministry” from the specific requirements of coverage under the act. Medi-Share, one of the plans grandfathered into this exemption, is a sort of faith-based co-op.

Members pay a monthly fee, then go to their medical providers as cash customers, which usually means lower bills since doctors avoid the claim process. When they receive a bill for service, members submit it to the organization, which then approves or denies the claim based on Christian principles. Things like abortion and contraception are obviously not covered (along with most preventative care and some preexisting conditions), but the 76% of claims they do approve are paid in full.

Facts of Navy Yard shooting undermine gun control arguments

Media Guide to the AR-15

In the initial flurry of hasty, largely incorrect reports about the horrific Navy Yard shooting this week, the infamous AR-15 again reared its evil, black, “military-grade” head. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it was not in the deadly bogeyman fashion the media expected and reported. An AR-15 rifle was later said to be found at the scene, but no one has seen one since.

CNN and many other outlets seized upon the initial report of the AR-15 and ran with it, even calling the weapon an “AR-15 shotgun”, which does not exist. In fact, the shooter did attempt to purchase an AR-15 rifle last week in Virginia, but he was prevented from doing so by state law, since he was from out of state. Instead, he bought a shotgun, which is legal to purchase for out-of-state residents, and went about his murderous ways. This stunning sequence of events undermines nearly every gun control talking point being used right now.

Buzzfeed calls out the NRA for…not commenting on Navy Yard shooting?

BuzzFeed

In the wake of a terrible tragedy, there are almost universal requests for calm, peace, and a moratorium on politics. We have now reached the stage in the evolution of the Onion Nation where not commenting on a tragedy is worth criticizing.

Within hours of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard this morning, in which at least 12 have lost their lives, the objective journalists of Buzzfeed compiled a list of NRA tweets around the time of recent mass shootings, showing that the gun rights organization stops tweeting for a day or more when such an event occurs. The irony is astounding. If the NRA makes a statement about a shooting event, they are accused of politicizing it, standing on the graves of the victims, or worse. And now if they don’t make a statement, that’s also worth calling out?

Sure, Buzzfeed will just claim they found it interesting and weren’t criticizing. But savvy social media producers that they are should know better. Gun rights opponents will take their post and do the dirty work for them, calling the NRA cowards for staying silent in the face of such horror that they will inevitably be accused of causing.

The great Charles Cooke of National Review summed up the stupendous hypocrisy well on Twitter:

Cross-country elections hail defeat for Bloombergism

Although he wasn’t on the ballot anywhere last night, Michael Bloomberg, outgoing mayor of New York, anti-gun nut, “No Labels” doublespeaker, and everyone’s favorite Nanny-in-Chief, was handed several stinging defeats from his backyard in New York to the mountain west.

In the most direct challenge, Bill de Blasio, Democrat candidate for mayor in New York City, won a clear plurality and avoided a runoff with the #2 Democrat candidate, Bill Thompson. De Blasio ran as an outspoken “progressive alternative to the Bloomberg era.”

In the Republican primary, Bloomberg’s preferred candidate, Joe Lhota, did manage to win a majority and so also avoid a runoff. However, Lhota’s vote total (29,746 at this writing) was lower than that of the #5 Democrat candidate, Anthony Weiner (31,136 votes). In fact, the total vote in the Democrat primary (634,476) was eleven times larger than that of the Republican primary (56,584). If the general election runs anywhere close to these numbers, de Blasio will win in a landslide. A progressive Democrat becoming mayor of New York is certainly no victory for liberty, but it’s no victory for Bloombergism either.

WaPo invents Obama’s Syria coalition for him

Uncontent to stand by and watch President Obama’s Syria plan fall apart at home and abroad, the Washington Post has now created an international coalition for him.

From the G20 summit this morning, 11 of the nations present signed and released a statement condemning Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its citizens and urging international (mostly UN) action in response.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women, and children. …

We call for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world’s rules and conscience that will send a clear message that this kind of atrocity can never be repeated. …

Signatories have consistently supported a strong UN Security Council Resolution, given the Security Council’s responsibilities to lead the international response, but recognize that the Council remains paralyzed as it has been for two and a half years. …

We commit to supporting longer term international efforts, including through the United Nations, to address the enduring security challenge posed by Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. …”

Syria might be turning neocons into skeptics

John Bolton

If you watch Ed Schultz’s show or read his tweets (and let’s be honest, only schadenfreude-fueled right-wingers do), you’d think that conservatives were leading the march to war in Syria:

Neoconservatives specifically are often assumed to be most forcefully pushing for foreign intervention. In most cases, that has been true. But on Syria, even some of the most boisterous neocons in the past have been cautious or outright skeptical.

John Bolton, George W Bush’s former late-term UN Ambassador, said yesterday that if he were in Congress, he wouldn’t vote to approve a strike on the Assad regime:

“I don’t think it’s in America’s interest. I don’t think we should, in effect, take sides in the Syrian conflict. There’s very little to recommend either side to me. And I think the notion that a limited strike, which is what the president seems to be pursuing, will not create a deterrent effect with respect either to Syria’s use of chemical weapons or, more seriously, Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So, all in all, since I don’t see any utility to the use of military force in Syria in this context, I would vote no.”

Secretary Kerry’s Senate testimony basically undermined the entire Syria narrative

John Kerry testifies on Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to justify the Obama administration’s proposed strike on Syria. Hagel was typically unclear and confused, Dempsey provided a few strategic details, but to nearly everyone watching, Kerry contradicted himself, tripped over his own feet, and significantly undermined most of the arguments for a strike.

One of the primary motivations Kerry gave was that a strike on Syria’s chemical weapons would help keep them out the hands of terrorists. Then when asked whether Hezbollah already had chemical weapons, he said he would answer in a classified briefing scheduled the next day. As with an invocation of the Fifth Amendment, this doesn’t necessarily confirm that Hezbollah already has chemical weapons, but if they don’t it begs the question why he couldn’t have just said so. He mentioned several other sensitive details about the situation on the ground in Syria, including composition of the rebellion and our tactical assistance to them, so I don’t see how the fact that terrorists don’t have chemical weapons would be classified. That is…unless they do. And if they do, then the primary situation the strike is supposed to prevent is already the status quo.

No, the War Powers Act does not authorize unilateral executive preemptive military action

After the recent chemical attack by the Syrian government on its rebelling citizens, the war drums in Washington DC are rumbling. Ships are positioned, missiles are pointed, sabres are rattled, allies are consulted, the UN is in motion (sluggish, corrupt, meaningless motion). But can the President alone make the decision to attack another nation’s government or military forces? According to the Constitution and the War Powers Act of 1973, the answer is absolutely NO.

After decades of war in Korea and Vietnam without congressional authorization, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (commonly known now as the War Powers Act) specifically to make explicit limits on the President’s authority to engage in military action. It states that the President can engage in hostilities under only three conditions: a Congressional declaration, other Congressional authorization, or in retaliation for an attack on America.

Section 1541(c)

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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married, father of two, atheist, libertarian, introvert.

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