Archive for March 2013

Who are the “Young” Republicans?

One of the things you hear is that the younger Republicans are not into the social issues that the conventional wisdom (CW) tells us is the Republican Party’s real baggage. Certainly that is true about gay marriage, probably somewhat about immigration, less so about abortion rights, and probably does not apply to guns at all. The CW also tells us that if these folks could take back their party from the Tea Party, they could be players again in Presidential elections (they lost the popular vote in the last 5 out of the last 6 Presidential elections).

So first let’s really evaluate if they could take their party back. In a word, no. At least not in the near term. Not till all the old fat white people die off. You cannot jettison a base built up on years of misinformation, racial divide, fearing immigrants, and yes bible thumpers, and expect the new young things to rip it out of their hands. The primary election process for Republicans is securely in Tea Party hands that appeal directly to these social and racial issues. Being a fiscal conservative is just one piece of this coalition and while a critical part, is not the real engine that gets people to the polls. Fear and hate is.
Continue reading ‘Who are the “Young” Republicans?’ »

Are Entitlements Really a Problem?

If you listen to Very Serious People* (VSP), their new talking point is, okay near term debt is not a problem, but we need to address our growing costs in Entitlements before they swell the deficit to an unmanageable level. So I thought we would examine that assertion based upon a few facts, those pesky facts.

Remember that VSPs have been telling us the debt is the problem and interest rates and inflation are going to sky rocket for 5 years now. They got it first hand from a CEO at a cocktail party who knows that if we just bring down our debt, confidence would break out, and businesses will spend, spend, spend, kind of like it has in Europe. The fact that the growing deficit came from the lessor depression, and temporary spending as a result, was missed by them. That along with the fact that the deficit has been decreasing now for the last 3-years at record levels.

So now after being wrong for five years and recommending all the wrong policies for our economy and the real problem, unemployment, they have this wonderful new insight and want a grand bargain which slashes entitlements. Now here is where Paul Krugman makes wonderful sense and JoeScar screws himself into the ceiling because he doesn’t understand that. If entitlement spending is not a problem right now (and it is not), why would we cut entitlements now when the problem is in the future in some kind of grand bargain? That is not a hard concept is it?

Okay, so you get that, but all the experts say we will have a problem if Medicare and Medicaid continue to grow at rates above GDP and normal inflation, and that is true. But is it the entitlements themselves or their costs that are driving the train (entitlements are the free things you get, costs are what they cost). Well we get a hint of this one when we compare what we pay for health care compared to other nations who have better programs and better outcomes. We pay on average 2 1/2 times as much as other countries:


Okay, maybe if we paid what other countries pay, we wouldn’t have a problem. So why do we pay so much, and that gets me to the next dot to connect, a posting on the Wonkblog about how Fortune 500 companies are reducing the health care costs. In particular GE:

As General Electric’s director of health services, Robert Galvin was the guy responsible for managing the health insurance costs of about 150,000 employees. The job wasn’t easy — and, about five years ago, Galvin stumbled on some data that helped explain his challenges.

“I looked through all our contracts and the data, where we were spending $1.5 billion on health care,” Galvin, now CEO of Equity Healthcare, remembers. “One percent of those payments were based on value. The rest was just pure volume.”

The problem Galvin ran up against is one that is endemic to health care. For as long as we’ve had a health-care system, insurers have paid doctors and hospitals a fee for every service they provide. This isn’t an especially unique model. Any widget-maker tends to earn more money for selling more widgets.

In other words, fee for service, not fee for outcome, and their solution was to act more like Medicare, pooling with other large companies to negotiate with insurers on their payment models. Note that this does not address the fact that under a single payer system you would not have to pay the middle man, the insurance company either, which would further reduce costs.

But here comes the final dot and the best part: Costs of Medicare are decreasing and not rising near as fast as private insurance:


Wait! Could this say that Medicare and Medicaid will not grow at a rate that makes our deficit a problem? Could we be jumping the gun and cutting benefits when there is no need? If Medicare and Medicaid costs increase at or below GDP/inflation rates of growth, we don’t have a problem. And reasons for this decline in rate of growth could well be due to Obama care and the requirements for results instead of fee for service to reduce costs. Think what we could do if we really put our minds to it. Oh, and you might want to think about all those moron Republicans who are trying to scare you to death about Obama care.

So should we be doing a grand bargain to cut benefits to reduce costs right now? Of course not, but it is the talking point of all VSPs, because well they heard it from some other VSPs just yesterday over cocktails.

Note: On Social Security, it does not impact the deficit and is solvent until the 2030’s. It could be projected to be solvent for another 85 years if we just lifted the cap on taxable income. So why are we trying to cut benefits again?

At this Point It Should be Crystal Clear

President Obama has sadly listened to the Beltway pundits again and is engaging in a push to work with other side. See his latest push for infrastructure investment that would be revenue neutral to make the Republicans happy. They won’t bite. What should be crystal clear at this point is that they aren’t going to do anything Obama. I doubt seriously if we are going to get anything but eye shadow for immigration reform, and forget anything gun related.

The ‘reasonable’ Senate Republicans now have six Senators who say they will filibuster background checks (more regulations). We have a nation poised for change and all the polls show the American people on the side of gay marriage, immigration reform with a path for citizenship, gun law reform including a ban on assault weapons and high capacity clips, and investment in infrastructure. None of it is going to happen because the Republican Party no longer accounts to what is good for America. Talk about a ground bargain is nonsense, and stupid by the way.

So one might ask yourself, why continue to play the game on the Republican’s court? Why not change your strategy from trying to accommodate the nonsense the Republicans are pushing (see the Ryan and Rand Budgets) with compromises they are never going to agree to, and go after them for the damage they are doing to the country. These are not fellow Americans with a different point of view. These are Americans who if they get their way, will take our country back hundreds of years and turn our society into the upper and lower classes. Call their policies what they are instead of trying to compromise with them, and move the fight to your court.

The conventional wisdom is that the nation is gerrymandered to keep Republicans in power so nothing much will change in 2014. And I believe that is true if Democrats do what they usually do and pander to polls instead of standing up for principles. But if you really understand what the Republicans stand for, the wealthy and disenfranchising everyone else (did you listen to the questioning by the conservative judges on the Supreme Court try to dodge the obvious?), then you understand what this is about. Republicans resist change in a changing world where change is the very foundation of survival and success.

So the strategy from Obama on down to the Democrat running for dog catcher is that they need to recognize that Republican policies are bankrupt and they need to be attacked head on. No more debt is the problem, we have to reduce the debt and invest, maybe we don’t need the assault weapon ban if we get background checks, and on and on. You are not going to get any of them. Go for the throat as the Republicans have been doing successfully to you. Attack their ideas and offer a different world view. If you want to move the country, you have to win the Congress, and to do that, you have to discredit conservatism. Compromise just lends credence to bad ideas and that is what Democrats have been doing now for 5 years.

It is a sin that borrowing right now is free (zero interest rate) and we have not put our people back to work because we bought into the home budget analogy of the Republicans. We let them control the debate focusing on debt which is not a problem instead of jobs. We keep dancing around cutting entitlement benefits when that is not the problem. We try to compromise on gun control, or immigration, or investment in infrastructure and we get nothing. What more do you need to realize we need to become the uncompromising party and fight for real change?

DOMA and the Debt Ceiling

Sometimes connecting the dots gives us answers to our problems. In this case, the comments by the Justices in the DOMA case may have just resolved how to handle the threat of the deb ceiling default. In the arguments before the Supreme Court on DOMA, the first issue was standing. The justices were asking why this case was even here (well because they accepted it). This is a strange case and it goes something like this (Wikipedia):

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of Windsor as executor of Spyer’s estate. Basically, it was saying that DOMA unfairly penalized (inheritance tax) same sex marriage since under federal law, it did not recognize the marriage or the tax breaks for a spouse.

On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement regarding two lawsuits challenging DOMA section 3, Windsor and Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management. It explained that the Obama administration had determined that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny, and therefore it could no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA’s section 3. The administration intends to continue enforcing the law until it is either repealed by Congress or finally declared unconstitutional in court. We will get back to this in a minute.

Now enter Congressional Republicans who can’t stand for justice to prevail in their faith based world and hate big government except when they can use it to force their religious beliefs down our throats. They decided to defend DOMA in the courts if the government wouldn’t. They formed the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives (BLAG) to defend this in the courts and lost in the District Court.

Now things get really strange and what I think is going on is that the Feds are trying to get the thing to the Supreme Court to get it declared unconstitutional so they don’t have to have some spine and simply quit enforcing it. We are now getting close to the Debt Ceiling issue, but wait for it.

The Justice Department filed a notice of appeal on June 14, 2012, despite its approval of the ruling, to facilitate BLAG’s defense of the statute (in other words to get it to the Supreme Court). BLAG filed a motion to dismiss the DOJ’s Second Circuit appeal on July 19, claiming the DOJ lacks standing because it prevailed in the District Court. My guess here is that they saw it was going to the Supreme Court and they did not want it struck down. To make a long story short, on October 18, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

In the meantime and before the Court of Appeals ruled, the DOJ and Widsor’s attorneys had filed a petition for certiorari before judgment with the Supreme Court which the Supreme Court accepted. A petition for certiorari is an order by a higher court directing a lower court, tribunal, or public authority to send the record in a given case for review. It is the standard way for plaintiffs to ask for Supreme Court to review.

So now we have the court wondering why they are reviewing a case that basically DOJ won and wondering if BLAG has the right to appeal it. Now here comes the interesting stuff: Chief Justice Roberts is responding to the government’s argument that they do (because, although they won the case (the Appeals Court ruled it unconstitutional), they want the case decided in the Supreme Court so they are off the hook for no longer enforcing DOMA):

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I would have thought your answer would be that the Executive’s obligation to execute the law includes the obligation to execute the law consistent with the Constitution. And if he has made a determination that executing the law by enforcing the terms is unconstitutional, I don’t see why he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions and execute not only the statute, but do it consistent with his view of the Constitution, rather than saying, oh, we’ll wait till the Supreme Court tells us we have no choice.

Now take this statement by our highest court’s Chief Justice and apply it to the debt ceiling debate. The Republicans are again threatening to hold the country hostage and possibly wreck the full faith and credit of the United States to pursue their austerity plan. This could severely damage the country and our ability to compete in the world economy. Now the Constitution gives some conflicting guidance on debt. That in my mind moves the battle of the debt ceiling squarely to the President’s desk where he could invoke the 14th Amendment where it says that “The validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.”

Article I of the Constitution assigns the authority to “borrow Money on the credit of the United States” to Congress which is why they must (they think) authorized the debt ceiling after they have already spent the money. But the President could make the interpretation that they gave this authorization when they authorized the spending in the bills that raised the need for debt. In other words, he could respect Congress’ will, and follow its orders to spend rather than follow its orders not to borrow because Article II of the Constitution requires him to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The meaning of that phrase has been debated at least since 1860, when the attorney general at the time concluded that the president could disregard a law purporting to appoint a government officer because it was unconstitutional*.

But he has said that would be unconstitutional. But consider this from Slate in terms of what our Chief Justice told us about his responsibilities in the DOMA case:

“In the face of contradictory instructions from Congress, the president can’t avoid choosing—by virtue of his administrative role as collector and disburser of revenues, the president must do something…the power to resolve conflicting congressional orders is inherent in the president’s administrative role…So in the face of contradictory orders from Congress, President Obama should do what he believes is in the public interest. And if the House refuses to raise the debt ceiling, this surely means some combination of cutting spending, borrowing beyond the debt limit, and perhaps even searching out new sources of revenue.”

The Chief Justice has given the Obama Administration all the justification they need to deal with this crisis by using the 14th Amendment. The question is, will they have the political courage to lead?

*From NYT For Obama Tricky Balancing Act in Enforcing Defense of Marriage Act

Living in a Terminally Stupid Country

Well as per the last post, resonable gun control is going nowhere.  But it gets better.  What do the Republicans want?  More cuts.  We just implemented the sequester which is European style austerity and we now have the ‘new’ Ryan Budget documenting even more cuts.  But what do we know (From the Wonkblog)?

new analysis by three economists at BofA Merill Lynch Global Research finds that Europe’s major economies could be doomed to sluggish growth for many years to come:

The authors start by pointing out that countries suffering from a recession triggered by a housing bubble typically take a long time to fully recover (five-and-a-half years, on average).

In Europe’s case, however, those woes are further exacerbated by structural problems with the euro zone currency union. The continent’s banking system is still a mess and hurt by a lack of coherent regulation. Meanwhile, many nations have been enacting sharp spending cuts and tax hikes to deal with their debt troubles, dragging down growth even further…“In the absence of impetus for bold reform,” the authors conclude, “this exercise shows the damage will indeed be long lasting, permanently impairing growth in a context of an aging population that needs higher growth capacity than ever before.”

So we have evidence right before our eyes that this is the totally wrong thing to do and we are doing it anyway, even if we got the Senate budget which will never happen.  Just how stupid are we?  Paul Krugman can probably answer that.


Yeah Right – Both Sides Do It

“Three conservative senators threatened to filibuster gun control legislation when the Senate takes it up after Easter. “We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” wrote Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.” (Salon)

We have a major problem in this country, we have a plan to move forward, and REPUBLICANS BLOCK EVERYTHING.  Anybody out there awake?  We can’t even try anything different.  Oh, and Harry and institutional Democratic Senators, that watered down filibuster agreement working out for you?  You idiots.  You have no idea how stupid and out of touch you appear to those of us out here in the hinterlands that see nothing ever getting done because you fail to understand how dysfunctional you have become.

Thinking About Traffic Cameras or Cameras in Public Places

I read an interesting article this morning about how Mayor Bloomberg blasted the government and Republicans by name who prevented a bill to allow traffic and red light cameras in New York City (NYT):

“As it became clear that a proposal to place speed-tracking cameras on New York City’s streets would fail in Albany, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg let fly a charged and unusually personal attack against state lawmakers on Wednesday, blaming state senators, by name, for the future deaths of children killed by speeding cars.

The next time that word of such a tragedy emerges, Mr. Bloomberg suggested at a news conference near Union Square, ‘why don’t you pick up the phone and call your state senator and ask why they allowed that child to be killed?'”

I wonder why we don’t say the same thing about votes on assault weapons and background checks, but I get distracted.  What is it about cameras in public places that gets people all flustered?  I would welcome them.  On a drive to San Francisco last week, the number of people I saw texting while driving would have raised over $10,000 in fines.  The number of people who speed excessively, drive in the carpool lane as a single occupant, and do other dangerous and illegal things on our highways is staggering.  So what is the problem with putting up cameras and sending them the bill?  What, it is not fair?  Public safety is a game of cop versus driver?

I guess if I had my way, we would have cameras like England does in public places.  Public places in my mind are, well, public places.  You don’t have some absolute right to privacy in a public place.  You are now part of the community utilizing public facilities.  So what is the problem, you will catch me with my girl friend?  I guess there could be a concern about who has access to these videos and how they are used other than for legitimate law enforcement purposes, but really, the trade off in safety surely makes these issues solvable.  I am still waiting to hear a valid argument that we should not have more cameras.

State’s Rights and Watching the Supreme Court Punt into Oblivion

The argument on Wednesday on DOMA was again kind of sad if you expect our government to protect the rights of minorities. I think it finally devolved into a kind of sophomoric argument about state’s rights instead of equal protection under the law. The states define marriage and the proponent of DOMA wanted to say that the Federal government could not define rights that the state has to provide, i.e., they would be dictating what rights some married couples had.

It seemed to me that the proponents of DOMA argued that the federal government, in their infinite wisdom, decided that whether states recognized marriage or not, the federal government would not. See it treats everyone equally. Well as Justice Ginsburg pointed out it does not and treats those in states that recognize gay marriage as less than those with heterosexual marriages. In fact it does just the opposite, it puts into law discrimination across the board:

“MR. CLEMENT: With respect, Justice Kennedy, that’s not right. No State loses any benefits by recognizing same-sex marriage. Things stay the same. What they don’t do is they don’t sort of open up an additional class of beneficiaries under their State law for — that get additional Federal benefits. But things stay the same. And that’s why in this sense -­

JUSTICE GINSBURG: They’re not — they’re not a question of additional benefits. I mean, they touch every aspect of life. Your partner is sick. Social Security. I mean, it’s pervasive. It’s not as though, well, there’s this little Federal sphere and it’s only a tax question. It’s — it’s — as Justice Kennedy said, 1100 statutes, and it affects every area of life. And so he was really diminishing what the State has said is marriage. You’re saying, no, State said two kinds of marriage; the full marriage, and then this sort of skim milk marriage.

But the Justices did not want to open the equal protection question because they would then have to consider whether banning gay marriage was in effect discrimination. It is of course, but the Justices were still trying to convince themselves that this is some kind of fad instead of a basic question of equal rights. That was summed up in this highly disturbing exchange from Justice Roberts about the support of gay rights:

“CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I suppose the sea change has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case?

MS. KAPLAN: I disagree with that, Mr. Chief Justice, I think the sea change has to do, just as discussed was Bowers and Lawrence, was an understanding that there is no difference — there was fundamental difference that could justify this kind of categorical discrimination between gay couples and straight couples.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: You don’t doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same sex-marriage laws in different States is politically powerful, do you?

MS. KAPLAN: With respect to that category, that categorization of the term for purposes of heightened scrutiny, I would, Your Honor. I don’t -­



CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.

MS. KAPLAN: The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chief Justice, is that no other group in recent history has been subjected to popular referenda to take away rights that have already been given or exclude those rights, the way gay people have. And only two of those referenda have ever lost. One was in Arizona; it then passed a couple years later. One was in Minnesota where they already have a statute on the books that prohibits marriages between gay people.

So I don’t think — and until 1990 gay people were not allowed to enter this country. So I that the political power of gay people today could possibly be seen within that framework, and certainly is analogous — I think gay people are far weaker than they were at the time of Fronterio.

He sees or wants to represent this as a political power play to grant a group special (equal actually) rights and it is in reality the recognition by more and more Americans of the human condition we all share and the basic discrimination some face. He is trying to say they are not a protected class. How sad.

So I think it is clear that the court will punt on both Prop 8 and DOMA. They simply don’t get it or have the foresight to understand they are standing on the precipice of history. Prop 8 will be overturned by either the standing issue or a ruling that limits its effects to California. DOMA will similarly be overturned, probably on the standing issue or struck down on the state’s rights argument so that they do not have to rule on equal protection. But if they do that, it will come back as an equal protection case when some states allow federal benefits through legal marriage and others don’t.

If it overturned on the standing, I believe that throws the responsibility back to the President to follow the lower courts ruling that it is not constitutional and not enforce it. Does he have the political courage which he should have used before now?

But this whole state’s right argument gives me pause. I think it has become apparent that state’s rights generally has been used to take away civil rights, not protect them. I think of slavery, voting rights, school segregation, women’s rights as examples where the federal government has had to step in to ensure American’s rights are protected. Only in the case of assisted suicide have I seen states get out in front on that civil rights issue. It is a grand cop out and puts the Supreme Court in the same category as the rest of our government right now, thinking small, taking little steps, and missing the opportunities to get on with our destiny.

Why the Conservative Judges on the Supreme Court are Partisan Hacks

JUSTICE SCALIA: Mr. Cooper, let me — let me give you one — one concrete thing. I don’t know why you don’t mention some concrete things. If you redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, you must — you must permit adoption by same-sex couples, and there’s – there’s considerable disagreement among — among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a — in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful to the child or not. Some States do not — do not permit adoption by same-sex couples for that reason.”

From the Wonkblog:

“Researchers have been delving into the effects of same-sex parenting only since the 1980s and 1990s. Most of the studies involve relatively small samples because of the rarity of such families.

Still, there is a growing consensus among experts that the sexual orientation of parents is not a major determinant in how well children fare in school, on cognitive tests and in terms of their emotional development. What matters more, researchers found, is the quality of parenting and the family’s economic well-being.

“I can tell you we’re never going to get the perfect science, but what you have right now is good-enough science,” said Benjamin Siegel, a professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. “The data we have right now are good enough to know what’s good for kids.”

Siegel co-wrote a report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics last week when it came out in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The group looked at more than 80 studies, books and articles conducted over 30 years and concluded that legalizing same-sex marriage would strengthen families and benefit children.

The best study, Siegel said, is the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, which began in 1986 with 154 lesbian mothers who conceived children through artificial insemination. A recent look at 78 offspring found that the children did fine — better, even, than children in a similar study involving more diverse families.”

But it gets even worse. This is from the amicus curiae brief that the American Association of Sociologists filed in the very case Scalia was commenting on:

The claim that same-sex parents produce less positive child outcomes than opposite-sex parents—either because such families lack both a male and female parent or because both parents are not the biological parents of their children—contradicts abundant social science research. Decades of methodologically sound social science research, especially multiple nationally representative studies and the expert evidence introduced in the district courts below, confirm that positive child wellbeing is the product of stability in the relationship between the two parents, stability in the relationship between the parents and child, and greater parental socioeconomic resources. Whether a child is raised by same-sex or opposite-sex parents has no bearing on a child’s wellbeing.

The clear and consistent consensus in the social science profession is that across a wide range of indicators, children fare just as well when they are raised by same-sex parents when compared to children raised by opposite-sex parents.

He just picks and choses his facts to support whatever pre drawn conclusion he has arrived at within his ideological framework. Just another partisan hack that is wrecking the respect and stature of the Supreme Court. He is not the only one. See tomorrows blog on Justice Roberts trying to depict gays as some powerful political lobby instead of a category that deserves protected status. Gee, gays don’t get discriminated as a class do they?

Oh I almost forgot: The Republicans passed amendments to the Continuing Resolution that will prohibit the government from funding these kinds of political science studies so we actually can base policy and decisions on facts, not ideological bullshit. Aren’t they grand?

Too Fast, Too Soon?

An argument that even liberals on the Supreme Court are making is that maybe even in Roe versus Wade, we moved too fast and there was a backlash that actually is hurting that right as evidenced by the attack on women’s choice today (See North Dakota and 6 week window for abortions). Ruth Ginsburg: “Speaking at a Columbia Law School symposium on Friday (Feb 8th), Ginsburg said the court could have delayed hearing the case (Roe v. Wade) while state law evolved on the issue, the Associated Press reports. “It’s not that the judgment was wrong, but it moved too far too fast.” The argument in Prop 8 was do we know if this new kind of relationship is deleterious to children (Actually yes we do but this is a court that thinks cellphones are new fangle thingies*)? They seemed to be saying we are moving too fast and we need more definitive data. So two issues here, too soon for a backlash, and too soon for determining whether if children is the primary point of marriage (and I question that) they will be harmed.

So I will do what Theodore Olsen did, ask rhetorical questions to show the harm in not recognizing this basic right. Was it too soon to grant citizenship to blacks in this country? Was it too soon to recognize women’s right to vote? Was it too soon to ensure voter rights in the South? Was it too soon to say women have a right to make personal decisions about their bodies? If we wait for a popular vote in every state, are we not negating everything the Constitution tries to protect in the form of minority rights and validating the tryanny of the majority? Should we be voting at all on civil rights issues, and should we not be a people of principles instead of a mob of common interests?

Well you know my answer to that, and I believe those who are saying these cases before the Supreme Court are beside the point because public opinion will overtake them, miss a fundamental point. If the Court fails to move on these fundamental issues and waits until the popular belief is that it is okay, they undermine their whole point for existence and become another badly partisan political organization. They may have already done that if you look at how states are passing abortion restrictions that are cleary unconstitutional, but think they will get their partisans on the Supreme Court to back them. They are are destroying our country and our Constitution.

*Alito: “But you want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet? I mean we — we are not — we do not have the ability to see the future.” The future is now Justice Alito, but then you did not believe that Citizens United would unleash tons more money on politics.