Broccoli Set To Scupper Obamacare

David Monniaux (CC)

Can you believe that the United States Supreme Court is poised to throw out President Obama’s signature health care legislation based on a fear of being made to eat broccoli? I mean, whaaaaat??? James B. Stewart cites various precedents for “broccoliphobia,” but omits George H. W. Bush’s well known dislike of the healthy vegetable, which I would posit made it fashionable for conservatives to denounce it. He reports in the New York Times:

What does broccoli have to do with health insurance?

Until recently, nothing. But now, perhaps a lot.

Broccoli, of all things, came up in the Supreme Court during arguments over the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s health care legislation. If Congress can require Americans to buy health insurance, Justice Antonin Scalia asked, could it force people to buy just about anything — including a green vegetable that many find distasteful?

“Everybody has to buy food sooner or later,” he said. “Therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.”

Since then broccoli has captured the public imagination and become the defining symbol for what may be the most important Supreme Court ruling in decades, one that is expected any day and could narrow the established limits of federal power and even overturn the legal underpinnings of the New Deal.

If the court strikes down the health care law — which many constitutional experts on both the right and left long doubted it would do — many lawyers say they believe one reason may be the role of broccoli in shaping the debate.

It turns out that broccoli did not spring from the mind of Justice Scalia. The vegetable trail leads backward through conservative media and pundits. Before reaching the Supreme Court, vegetables were cited by a federal judge in Florida with a libertarian streak; in an Internet video financed by libertarian and ultraconservative backers; at a Congressional hearing by a Republican senator; and an op-ed column by David B. Rivkin Jr., a libertarian lawyer whose family emigrated from the former Soviet Union when he was 10.

Even those who reject the broccoli argument appreciate its simplicity. Whatever the Supreme Court rules, Mr. Rivkin and his libertarian allies have turned the decision into a cliffhanger that few thought possible…

[continues in the New York Times]

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  • Bruteloop

    What the hell is happening to America? How many more ridiculous headlines and obsessions and idiotic, waste of time arguments can you come up with before the rest of the world just blanket thinks the whole country is batshit?

    • discusthrower

       I know… how much more effrontery from the Right are we going to stomach…

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OCEM5A7I4E3KTDK47FXP7ULDVM Scott Arktera

        “We” who? Two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn “some or all’ of Obama’s pro-mega corporation corporate welfare giveaway (see: 
        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/us/most-americans-want-health-care-law-overturned-or-changed-poll-finds.html?pagewanted=all). They include Ralph Nader and other icons of the Left. 

        Keep dancing the “Left/Right/Left/Right’ jig your overlords demand you dance. It’s amusing. 

        • 99prozent

          Your wishing to overturn

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZSNESTIF2F3RFDFDJXFZC5F6QE UA

            No one is debating overturning universal healthcare. Obama didn’t introduce universal healthcare. Universal healthcare was an option presented by people like Dennis Kucinich and Jim McDermott. Obama opposed it. 

            Instead, Obama introduced a system in which Americans would be required to purchase private-run health insurance by for-profit giant corporations who donated millions to his election campaign. That’s why most progressive leaders, like Ralph Nader, are opposing it. 

            I hope you make an effort to educate yourself about the issues on which you’re commenting on prior to commenting on them in the future. It will make you look a bit less foolish. Thanks!

          • 99prozent

            I jumped to conclusions too early. i did read about the planned “reform” but only after i had already posted. that can’t be helped now but thanks for trying to educate me without ranting much. 

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZSNESTIF2F3RFDFDJXFZC5F6QE UA

            That’s okay, it’s easy to be confused as there are a number of Obama sheeple screaming at the top of their lungs who are so caught up in waving the flag of their favorite color, they don’t really care what that color stands for (corporate welfare giveaway to mega-corporations like UnitedHealth). Like Obama, they don’t want universal healthcare, they just want to be on the winning side … even if the winning side will make them all corporate slaves. 

          • mysophobe

            You and the poster ‘M B’ on this thread should get together, you seem to have an awful lot in common. Same phrasing, same buzzwords, same talking points, same positions, same combative condescending style, even the same icon…remarkable. On another note, I find it strange that you refer to HCR as “a massive expansion of the power of the federal regime” yet you are rightly all for universal healthcare. It doesn’t add up. Care to explain? I can redirect the question to M B if you would prefer.

          • discusthrower

             I believe that we are encountering a subaltern hegemony…  not to be trite, but they actually remind me of my old friends from high-school who I had to part ways with.

            I see their reckless insults as being similar to agents of the govt sowing discord and subverting social cohesion… govt agents, republicans, or just anal vents, is anybody’s guess…

          • mysophobe

            He/she’s sowing something alright. Interesting how he/she jumped your shit for using the wrong fallacy yet failed to point to an alternate fallacy or lack thereof, instead choosing to attack you personally. You are correct to point out that this is indicative of argumentative weakness.
            With regards to Scalia: On the surface, it looks like a slippery slope argument. “This sensible law being upheld could lead to some other ridiculous law being passed.” On the other hand, his argument seems to hinge on the wrongful conflation of two dissimilar markets, that of food and that of health care. In conflating the two, he is attempting to contort Verrilli’s definition of “the market” and Verrilli’s argument into something that his slippery slope argument can then be used against. This is a straw man argument by any definition and Verrilli’s response politely states exactly that sentiment. But what do I know, I took a logic course at a community college.

          • TapMeYouFascists

             So… I’m confused… Ralph Nader is the straw man?

          • discusthrower

             the straw man is comparing health care to broccoli… but there is some disagreement on the meaning of the term straw man..

        • discusthrower

           your campy anecdotes do not serve your argument… altho it seems that there are many who agree with you…  but it does not impress me.  What you are doing is quite literally disinformation, if that is your intent.

    • JaceD

      Too late, the world has thought America batshit crazy for a long time now.

  • Greg J.

    ^you apparently took this literally. it is more of a metaphor than actual broccoliphobia. and if that’s what kind of comparison is needed, then so be it.

    another comparison can be, you are forced/required to have car insurance when you own a vehicle. but you are born with your body.. not born with a car. therefore forcing insurance on all. instead of selected individuals who want to drive. is unconstitutional and I believe goes against the commerce clause.

    I may be wrong, but hey that’s my opinion.

    • huh

      you’re making a mistake in giving disinfo writers more intelligence than what they’re owed

    • discusthrower

       how does it go against the commerce clause?  What would it be like a form of slavery? 

      We can make healthcare free zones for the people who don’t want support from the hospitals…

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OCEM5A7I4E3KTDK47FXP7ULDVM Scott Arktera

        in reference to your question below, your statement above is a straw man argument

        “opposition to pro-mega corporation corporate welfare health law” = “opposition to the practice of medicine” 

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient
        • discusthrower

           I was making a joke about the no hospital zone….  whatevs…  you guys are hosed..  ;p

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/DMD7L4C7KPS45GBLJG54X543VQ M B

            I never tire of people who – when their community college-level  understanding of logic is exposed – wave their hands wildly in the air and exclaim “oh, no – I was actually just joking!” 

            discusthrower – I’d say you should stop while you’re ahead but you’ve been three steps behind this whole thread

          • discusthrower

             arright.  I’ll go my way and you go yours.  But I do not take lightly judges comparing my health to the triviality of grocery store produce.

            I enjoy writing… writing to me is an act of enjoyment…so disputing something and asking for clarification from you is far removed from my normal line of writing. 

            I’ve actually been suspecting that you are among some order of advanced “trolling” crew…  but that is for me to decide in the end…

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/DMD7L4C7KPS45GBLJG54X543VQ M B

            “comparing my health to the triviality of grocery store produce” – go buy health insurance, the Supreme Court isn’t stopping you

            All I and others who have called for SCOTUS to strike down the individual mandate – such as Ralph Nader – are asking is that you please don’t use armed police to require I contribute money to a for-profit, multi-national mega-corporation under 4 federal consumer fraud investigations because that’s what you want to do … the same mega-corp (UnitedHealth) that contributed millions to Obama’s election campaign and is about to gain billions from new customers as a result of the “Health Reform” (read: corporate welfare) law. I don’t support that mega-corporations goals for the world and don’t want to be forced to labor to earn money to send them. Deal? Thanks.

          • discusthrower

             I do own health insurance despite being in good health.

            armed police will never be involved in health insurance, but under the mandate you would be penalized for not contributing funds towards health insurance if you were able to pay for it.

            While I agree there are some scruples to be ironed out, the present set up of health care does not work well for a lot of people.  The profiteering of the health care system is leaving people unprotected through legal loop holes, or whatever. 

            I can appreciate opposition to the health care mandate but it seems that you fail to appreciate the needs of other members of society.

            Are you opposed to a single-payer healthcare system as well?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/DMD7L4C7KPS45GBLJG54X543VQ M B

            “The profiteering of the health care system is leaving people unprotected through legal loop holes, or whatever.”

            The profiteering of the health care system is what resulted in Obamacare. Obamacare was bought and paid for by mega-corporations. The individual mandate can be struck down without impacting any of the rest of the law but the Obama sheeple are screaming it will mean they have to repeal the entire bill. Why? Because it will lose the profits promised to the mega-corporation Obama campaign donors like United Health.

            Do try to education yourself on very basic public policy issues instead of mindlessly carrying water for your hero. Trust me – you can dissent from The Boss and he (probably) won’t imprison you under his indefinite detention law … 

            I support overturning the mega-corporation giveaway to Obama’s health insurance campaign donors precisely because I support single-payer healthcare. 

          • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

            Well said sir.

            I find myself in the same position.

            At a minimum, I would have preferred that a Medicare Buy-In option was made available.

            But in any case, it’ll come to gun play when they try to force me to buy medical insurance in a rigged market.

          • discusthrower

            I support single-payer healthcare as well.  However, I am not sure that we will get there any time soon, especially if the healthcare mandate is trashed.

            I’d also like to add that your insults indicate a flawed ideology on your part.  But in the theater of life sometimes throwing our weight around means something where words fail.

          • Mandy


            the needs of other members of society”

            LOL – what a crock of shit – like Obamacare addresses that. 

            Problem: people are uninsured
            Obama-Style Solution: “Hey all you uninsured people – buy insurance!” 

            Problem: there are homeless people
            Obama-Style Solution: “Hey all you homeless people – get a house!” 

            Problem: “People in Ethiopia are starving.”
            Obama-Style Solution: “Hey you people in Ethiopia, eat more!” 

            man, you are a fucking kool-aid drinker

        • discusthrower

           you guys are feds…   sori, couldn’t resist…

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/DMD7L4C7KPS45GBLJG54X543VQ M B

            You are sitting here demanding a massive expansion of the power of the federal regime and are accusing people who oppose it of being feds? 

            The machine really has done a number on your mind. You don’t know which way is up and which way is down. Sheesh – incredible.

  • Jango Fett

    “Can you believe that the United States Supreme Court is poised to throw out President Obama’s signature health care legislation based on a fear of being made to eat broccoli? I mean, whaaaaat???”

    Like OMG! I mean, like, can you TOTALLY believe it!?!?

    Thanks for your mature, rational argument but I’d prefer not to be compelled, under force of law, to purchase the products of a multi-national corporation currently under 4 criminal investigations and owned by the richest 1% like United Healthcare. Under Obamacare, UHC will be one of three corporations in my state from which I can choose to have my money compulsorily transferred to; the other two aren’t much better.

    • terrywoods

       you’re forced to buy car insurance, right?

      • Jango Fet

        no, I don’t drive

      • discusthrower

         I’m going to wait to buy a body until this whole healthcare thing blows over…

      • just me

         I only have to buy car insurance if I choose to drive…… Then, I’m only required to buy it for myself, not anybody else.

        • Calypso_1

          I don’t think you have a very good idea of the nature of shared risk.  You are not required to insure yourself.  You are required to contribute the percentage of potential liability that you have for a particular risk demographic.    

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/DMD7L4C7KPS45GBLJG54X543VQ M B

            I don’t think you have a very good idea of the nature of freedom of association. You are not required to join a club. You are required not to force others into your club at gunpoint. 

          • Calypso_1

            wrong/ right – but for the wrong reasons/ irrelevant – we don’t use guns anymore

        • mysophobe

          Even if you don’t own a car, people with cars are forced to buy liability insurance that covers you and your property just in case you step off a curb without looking or have someone mix up the pedals and plow through your living room. I’m guessing you’d be pretty thankful that people with cars are forced to cover your liability in either of those situations.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/DMD7L4C7KPS45GBLJG54X543VQ M B

            “people with cars are forced to buy liability insurance”

            No. People who make the choice to access public streets are required to buy liability insurance as a condition of that access, in the same way people who make the choice to go to Disneyland have to buy an admission pass.

            Requiring someone purchase a product as a condition of being alive is non-comparable. 

            Driving is a privilege. Life is a right. 

            Codicils and regulations can be attached to privileges. 
            Codicils and regulations can’t be attached to rights.

          • mysophobe

            In your metaphor, who are the owners of ranch vehicles or garaged vehicles in the health care market? Are they the self insured?

            “Codicils and regulations can’t be attached to rights.”

            Sure they can. There is no absolute right to speech or religion free from regulation. There is no absolute right to bear arms free from regulation. There is no absolute right to be alive as long as there is a death penalty or the possibility of a military draft. To satisfy your demand for a facade of unfettered freedom, I suppose they could rewrite the law to state that you only have to buy health insurance if you ever in your life intend to seek out government subsidized health treatment, bearing in mind that all health care in America is at least partially subsidized by the government in some way. Would that satisfy you?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/DMD7L4C7KPS45GBLJG54X543VQ M B

            Requiring someone engage in an action as a condition of life (purchase a product from a private mega-corporation) will be obviously different to a rational person of average intelligence from requiring someone *not* engage in an action as a condition of life (not yell fire in a crowded theater). 

            If you don’t see the difference you’re not a rational person of average intelligence. Sorry. 

          • mysophobe

            You were originally making the distinction between rights and privileges, not between positive rights and negative rights (right to action vs. right to not be acted upon). I agree with you that there is a difference. With HCR, you do have the right to not purchase health insurance. In which case the government will levy a fine, which is well within it’s rights and hardly unprecedented. You have the right to not pay that fine, in which case the government will withhold some of your taxes to pay it, also well within it’s rights. You have the right to not pay taxes by not earning income, problem solved.

          • Calypso_1

            I agree w/ your assessment.  You are most certainly a rational person of average intelligence.

          • mysophobe

            In your metaphor, who are the owners of ranch vehicles or garaged vehicles in the health care market? Are they the self insured?

            “Codicils and regulations can’t be attached to rights.”

            Sure they can. There is no absolute right to speech or religion free from regulation. There is no absolute right to bear arms free from regulation. There is no absolute right to be alive as long as there is a death penalty or the possibility of a military draft. To satisfy your demand for a facade of unfettered freedom, I suppose they could rewrite the law to state that you only have to buy health insurance if you ever in your life intend to seek out government subsidized health treatment, bearing in mind that all health care in America is at least partially subsidized by the government in some way. Would that satisfy you?

      • crabby

         In the state where I live, a person (X) with a driver’s license has no automobile insurance requirements if he is not an automobile registrant, so he can casually drive another person’s (Y) insured automobile without any insurance in the name of person (X). Thus the insurance requirement is for the automobile, not for the person.Your comparison fails already on just this one point. Car insurance for liability on an automobile is compulsory for the registrant by the state, EXCEPT can be circumvented by the registrant, by posting a bond with the state, and thus the registrant becomes self insured. There is no such provision for self insurance in Obamacare. Your comparison thus fails on two points. I almost forgot about persons without a driver’s license and that don’t drive, so it’s three strikes and you’re out. Mittens used this same BS argument (that you did) while defending Romneycare, and it made him look foolish, imo.
        Obamacare is basically a compulsory requirement to be placed on each adult citizen simply for breathing.

  • discusthrower

    straw man argument FAIL. Scalia doosh ftl.  

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OCEM5A7I4E3KTDK47FXP7ULDVM Scott Arktera

      it appears you don’t know what a straw man argument is …

      • discusthrower

        then enlighten me please… maybe Scalia’s comment about health care being like broccoli is like my comment that his comment is straw man… health care isn’t like broccoli.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          really, you don’t know what a strawman argument is.

          • discusthrower

            some of the most useless refutations…. according my resources I am correct.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/straw+man?s=t

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OCEM5A7I4E3KTDK47FXP7ULDVM Scott Arktera

            you’ve just compounded this rather sad demonstration by showing us you can’t interpret a dictionary definition and apply it to your own argument

            again, you don’t know what a straw man argument is

          • discusthrower

             I think your interpretation is too literal

  • okOkay

    I don’t know, this seems like a logical fallacy to me. They’re correlating being forced to buy a SPECIFIC type of food to being forced to buy health insurance from multiple companies. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to simply argue that the government could either force us to buy a SPECIFIC type of insurance or just buy food in general? I’m not really seeing the connection here… but maybe that’s just me.

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