Watch "Wheat, Weed, and Obamacare," the ReasonTV Video That the NY Times Says is Playing a Major Role in Challenging Obamacare

 

Today's New York Times has a front-page story by James B. Stewart called "How Broccoli Landed on the Supreme Court Menu," which discusses the unlikely route that the "broccoli mandate" has taken as a central argument again President Obama's health-care reform, now under review by the Supreme Court. (A decision is expected any day now.)

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....

[A 2010 exchange between Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Supreme Court nominee Elana Kagan] caught the attention of Austin Bragg, 33, a producer for Reason TV. He proposed a video to his editor, Nick Gillespie. Reason TV and its magazine and Internet outlets are subsidiaries of theReason Foundation, a libertarian research organization whose largest donors are the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation ($1,522,212) and the Sarah Scaife Foundation ($2,016,000), according to its most recent disclosures. Both finance conservative and libertarian causes....

The video, “Wheat, Weed and Obamacare: How the Commerce Clause Made Congress All-Powerful,” was shown on YouTube and the Reason Web site in August 2010. “Legal titans John Eastman and Erwin Chemerinsky slug it out to determine whether or not Congress has been abusing the commerce clause,” Reason’s Web site proclaimed. Professor Eastman, a conservative, teaches at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court. He is also chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage. Professor Chemerinsky, a liberal, is dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine.

In the Reason video, Professor Chemerinsky got the worst of it. The clip shows Senator Coburn asking Ms. Kagan about eating vegetables and fruits, and cuts to Professor Chemerinsky. He appears to struggle with the question of limits to Congressional power, saying at one point, “Congress can force economic transactions,” and at another, “power can be used in silly ways and the Constitution isn’t our protector.” Professor Eastman comes off better, as he questions whether Americans want “an unlimited, amorphous government that can make us do whatever it wants?”

For Mr. Gillespie, the video had the desired effect. “Based on that video, Chemerinsky is the best screen villain since Hannibal Lecter,” Mr. Gillespie said. “But he got his chance to make his case.”

Read the whole thing here.

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  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    I love broccoli, though I seem to have trouble spelling it.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Statist.

  • Mo' $parky||

    Broccoli is Satan's pubic hair.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Then what is cauliflour? Or how ever the hell you spell it. You could spell it mentos and I'm still not eating it.

  • SugarFree||

    Cauliflower is Albino Satan's pubic hair. Duh. Even an atheist like me knows that.

  • ||

    Then what are Brussels Sprouts?

  • SugarFree||

    Oh, sweet Hazel. You are so touchingly innocent...

  • Mo' $parky||

    You know how sometimes when you're wiping your ass the toilet paper crumbles off?

  • ||

    Satan's dingleberries?

  • George H. W. Bush||

    Right on.

  • ||

    I have a backyard garden full of brocolli. Way too much brocolli.
    More than I can possibly eat. I have to give it away to friends and co-workers.

    Can the government force me to purchase brocolli as a means of regulating the substantial effect that backyard gardeners producing too much brocolli have on the interstae brocolli market?

  • Pi Guy||

    You can't just _give_ it away.

    The Wickard Enforcement Team is on their way...

  • RBS||

    Nor can you consume it yourself instead of buying it from somewhere else. The USDA SWAT team will be there shortly.

  • R C Dean||

    Can the government force me to purchase brocolli as a means of regulating the substantial effect that backyard gardeners producing too much brocolli have on the interstae brocolli market?

    I don't see why not. The government can prohibit you from growing broccoli under Wickard, which also states quite clearly that the regulatory power includes, not just prohibitions, but mandates.

  • ||

    While we are on the subject. Wouldn't the economy be better off if we banned cooking your own food. If everyone was forced to eat out for dinner it would stimulate the restaurant business, which after all provides jobs for millions of low-income people, who will spend most of their income, thus stimulating even more demand. Ergo, banning home-coking would have an huge multiplier effect.

  • fried wylie||

    what about the manufacturers of pots and pans and all manner of utensils, their jobs aren't worth protecting? I guess restaurants would still be buying that stuff, but in enough quantity to offset the loss in home-sales?

    oh wait: you have to buy the equipment anyway, and then are prohibited from using it. 2birds1Stone.

    *dusts hands off for another problem solved brilliantly*

  • ||

    Also, most pots and pans are made by machines. Which are run by a few low-wage workers. The profits are going to the capitalists who put up the capital to buy the machines.

    Now if we could mandate that people only use hand-hammered copper pots and pans, it would be a different story.

  • fried wylie||

    Which are run by a few low-wage workers.

    What about the guys who design, build, and repair those machines?

  • stuartl||

    Those folk can design, build and repair the "tools" used by law enforcement to ensure compliance.

  • ||

    What about the guys who design, build, and repair those machines?

    Don't you understand anything? The gains from productivity increases go to the 1%. Which ultimate harms the economy, because then the 99% don't have as much money to spend and aggregate demand declines. In order to really help the economy, we need to reduce productivity.

  • Randian||

    So, in other words, when Obamacare is overturned, the NYT is going to blame the Kochtopus, as I suspected.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Libertarian Power cannot be denied.
    We crush all who stand against us.
    bwa-hahahaha

  • ant1sthenes||

    I hope the NYT doesn't mind if I blame them whenever this country finally does go (or try to go) fascist.

  • Ska||

    They won't. They'll laugh at you and label you a fringe lunatic.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What do you whenever?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    He proposed a video to his editor, Nick Gillespie. Reason TV and its magazine and Internet outlets are subsidiaries of theReason Foundation, a libertarian research organization whose largest donors are the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation ($1,522,212) and the Sarah Scaife Foundation ($2,016,000), according to its most recent disclosures. Both finance conservative and libertarian causes....

    As you read that, you can almost hear the sinister music the NYT writer wanted you to hear.

  • ||

    I wonder how big a factor this is in the increased amount of snippy dismissals of libertarianism I've seen as of late, from random online forums/blogs/etc. to that Nozick hackjob on Slate and Alec Baldwin.

  • ||

    Al-text from NYT: "KOCH! KOCH! See! O-what-a-giveaway! A-HA!"

  • Randian||

    Reminds me of a hilarious chant from Ye Olde Days of Presidential Campaigning:

    "Ma, Ma, Where's My Pa? Gone to the White House, ha ha ha"

    People back in the day were a riot.

  • hey now||

  • Tim||

    He proposed a video to his editor, Nick Gillespie. Reason TV and its magazine and Internet oorgans are tentacles of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian research organization whose largest donors are the Count David Von Koch Charitable Foundation ($1,522,212) and the Sarah Scaife Foundation ($2,016,000), according to its most recent disclosures. Both finance diabolic and libertarian conspiracies....

  • ||

    Yup, you know who is REALLY responsible for the case against ObamaCare?

    The KOCH BROTHERS! Duh Duh Dum....

    They financed a video! On Reason.tv! Indirectly!

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    Was this supposed to be a news or an opinion piece!?

    The comments are and interesting exercise in denial and painful lacks of self-awareness. Apparently if they overturn the mandate it will be making a decision based on the politics, not the Constitution just like... wait for it... Citizens United! (cue dramatic orchestra hit)

  • ||

    You might make better comments regarding the constitution if you would bother to read it.

  • John||

    I like how the readers of the NYT are now so concerned with "Free Loaders". People need to be forced to buy insurance so they can't later free load off the system when they get sick.

    So Obamacare is really about getting the young, healthy and poor to bear more of their medical care costs. They seem to have forgotten to mention that during the "everyone gets a free pony" selling of the bill.

    Damn threaded comments.

  • SugarFree||

    Liberals being concerned with the burden of free-loaders on society is the richest piece of unaware comedy ever uttered.

  • Bee Tagger||

    It's totally normal to list the donor who donated less before the donor who donated more in a sentence, right?

  • fried wylie||

    seems like an arbitrary decision to me. counting up, or counting down? neither choice seems particularly intuitive, but you gotta pick a direction.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Chemerinsky comes across looking like a dipshit. I guess don't send your kid to UC Irvine School of Law unless you want them working in Washington D.C.

  • John||

    I like how the readers of the NYT are now so concerned with "Free Loaders". People need to be forced to buy insurance so they can't later free load off the system when they get sick.

    So Obamacare is really about getting the young, healthy and poor to bear more of their medical care costs. They seem to have forgotten to mention that during the "everyone gets a free pony" selling of the bill.

  • Randian||

    Chemerinsky is allegedly a Con Law genius, and so is (again, allegedly) the professor I had for Con Law who praised Chemerinsky all the time.

    And then, using Chemerinsky's book and my prof's instructions, I went and got a 100 in Con Law. I sometimes stay up at nights, wondering what that says about me.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Being able to comprehend a framework of bullshit and work within it as well as reality is just a sign of a systemizing legal mind.

  • RBS||

    You're good at playing the Law School game? We used he book too, and I had the same results as you, although my class made our delicate flower of a professor cry during the commerce clause part.

  • tarran||

    Details! We need details! Manputer demands sacrifice!

  • BoscoH||

    Not many people can suck their own balls. You, my friend, are very flexible!

  • ||

    Chemerinsky is allegedly a Con Law genius

    In liberal legal circles being a consitutional law "genius" means "being able to figure out how the constitution allows the government to do all sorts of things liberals want it to do."

  • Atanarjuat||

    Also his face is beyond punchable.

  • ||

    What Stewart leaves out is that Chemerinsky seems to have no grasp of the constitution and his argument is complete shit. I guess that doesnt really matter since Eastman (Buhm Buhm Buhm!!) is funded by the Kochs and hates gays. Oh yeah, and....(Buhm Buhm Buhm!!)...he clerked for that icky Thomas guy.

  • John||

    When the Times rights about lefty think tanks, they never seem to bother to say who supports them. In fact they never used to care that the Kochs supported reason until the Kochtopus became a liberal talking point. Pathetic.

  • mari dupont||

    No kidding. Almost half the article is a list of Reason's supporters and allies.

    I guess they're hoping this irrelevant rogues gallery will somehow neutralize Cherminisky's response.

  • mb||

    The best thing about Bloomberg is he is regulating what people eat just as the Supreme Court is considering Obamacare and the limits of federal power regarding the mandate.

    Of course Obama would never mandate you eat broccoli - that's crazy talk...

  • TungoZang||

    I think that makes a whole lot of sense dude. WOw.

    www.Anon-Wares.tk

  • Pi Guy||

    Hazel:
    If ObamaCare stands SCOTUS muster you could get rich just off the broccoli subsidies. Hold onto that farm!

  • SIV||

    libertarian and ultraconservative backers

    An alliance between libertarians and ultraconservatives? What a novel idea.

  • Dick Fitzwell||

    Why?!? Why must you put the most punchable face on the planet in a post this early in the morning? Now I'll spend all day looking for a face to punch.

  • DoubleIPA||

    I was thinking more guillotine and shitting down throat of pansy lightweight, but face punching works. Time for my medication.

  • fried wylie||

    “power can be used in silly ways and the Constitution isn’t our protector.”

    Funny, I thought that WAS THE ENTIRE FUCKING POINT OF THE CONSTITUTION...

    Go fuck a broccoli, retard waste of gametes.

  • ||

    Nick, what's it like to be a puppet controlled by the tentacles of the Kochtopus? Do they use strings, or do they just suction onto your flesh directly?

  • ||

    I hope they suction. It sounds pleasurable. Where do I sign up to be manhandled by the tentacles of Kochtopus?

  • fried wylie||

    Saw night at the museum 2 recently, thought the scene where the octopus tentacle-smooches Stiller was pretty cute.

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