The Patriot Post® · Friday Digest
“[T]he duty imposed upon [the president] to take care, that the laws be faithfully executed, follows out the strong injunctions of his oath of office, that he will ‘preserve, protect, and defend the constitution.’ The great object of the executive department is to accomplish this purpose; and without it, be the form of government whatever it may, it will be utterly worthless.” –Joseph Story
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
The Fix? Another BIG Lie
Barack Obama added another chapter to his politically motivated unconstitutional rewrites of the so-called “Affordable Care Act” Thursday. After more than 5 million insurance cancellations mandated by his ACA regulations, and the political consequences for Democrats, he declared that you can keep your plan (at least until after next year’s elections). This was his latest political lie to cover his previous round of lies to cover his oft-repeated original lie that “you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period.”
His latest “pledge to the American people” is: “[W]e’re gonna solve the problems that are there, we’re gonna get it right, and the Affordable Care Act is going to work for the American people.” (He forgot to add, “Trust me!”) Obama plans to “fix it” through “enforcement discretion,” a patently unconstitutional maneuver typical of autocratic ineptocracies, but he has never allowed Rule of Law to be an impediment to this administration’s political agenda.
Obama is crafting his latest blame-shifting cover story on the theme that insurance companies are the bad guys. But, the 2010 HHS regulations his administration wrote, and he signed into law, mandated that any policy adjustment in a plan after that enactment would require cancellation of that plan if it did not fully comply with ObamaCare’s “comprehensive coverage” requirements. Now, with a wave of his magic wand, Obama says none of that applies, and that, as long as state insurance commissioners permit it, insurance companies can continue to offer the plans that they previously had to cancel due to regulations. In other words, he put this 600 lb. gorilla on the back of state commissioners and insurance companies.
As noted, Obama has no authority to enforce this proposed retrofit – or, as he put it, to “improve” the law. But he has a history of “selective law enforcement” according to his political agenda, and in the case of ObamaCare, he already unilaterally declined to enforce the employer mandate – now he’s unilaterally declining to enforce the coverage mandate, at least until after the 2014 elections. He admits “we did fumble the ball” on the Healthcare.gov rollout, which directly affects a person’s ability to replace a plan that was forcibly cancelled. He claims he only wants to fix what he broke. Apparently, Bill Clinton, who declared that Obama ought to let the American people “keep what they got,” is now calling the shots.
In reality, Obama’s executive action is an effort to preempt a lawful Republican legislative correction to ObamaCare, aptly titled the “Keep Your Health Plan Act” – scheduled for a vote Friday. Many panicking Democrats were hinting at voting for the bill, mainly to save their own skin in 2014, but that would be too embarrassing for the president. He even threatened to veto the bill, likely because it would bolster private competition for his exchanges, and he simply can’t tolerate that.
Responding to Obama’s latest alteration, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) warned that his fix will “destabilize the market” and drive prices higher. Insurance industry analyst Robert Laszewksi explained, “This means that the insurance companies have [six weeks] to reprogram their computer systems for policies, rates, and eligibility, send notices to the policyholders via US Mail, send a very complex letter that describes just what the differences are between specific policies and Obamacare compliant plans, ask the consumer for their decision – and give them a reasonable time to make that decision – and then enter those decisions back into their systems without creating massive billing, claim payment, and provider eligibility list mistakes. All by January 1.” And Obama could not get the Healthcare.gov website operational in three years with $600 million.
Then again, destabilizing the market is the express purpose of ObamaCare – not that we feel sorry for those insurance companies that conspired with Democrats to remand health care to government control.
To recap ObamaCare’s sordid history, it was rammed through Congress on a partisan vote; it was unconstitutionally launched in the Senate instead of the House, where revenue bills should begin; it was redefined by the Supreme Court in order to find it “constitutional”; and it was illegally amended by Obama after its passage to delay mandates, provide political favors and remove accountability. This latest rewrite simply fits the pattern and further seals Obama’s lawless legacy – and unfortunately, the demise of the finest health care system in the world.
(See objections raised by WashPo, NYT and other editorial pages.)
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ECONOMY, REGS & TAXES
The High Cost of Ethanol
One advantage for Iowa in being first on the presidential calendar is that candidates get an earful of talk on rural and agricultural issues. This, among other reasons, is why we have ethanol mandates.
Unfortunately, the “clean, green” energy that promised to eventually wean us off our dependence on foreign oil has turned out to be neither clean nor green. According to a lengthy Associated Press report on the subject, for example, over 1.2 million acres of formerly pristine prairie in Nebraska and the Dakotas have been plowed under for cornfields. Farmers are now eschewing modest conservation payments in favor of chasing a corn market where prices top $7 a bushel, leaving observers to bemoan the “raping [of] the land” and the “ecological disaster” ethanol has created.
With all that new acreage in mainly marginal land being used for crops, additional supplies of nitrogen-rich fertilizer are required. While it helps boost corn yields to some extent, the fertilizer that leaches away from the fields makes its way to local streams that eventually wind their way to the Gulf of Mexico, contributing to an expanding “dead zone” in that body of water. It’s also affected water supplies downstream, with the city of Des Moines, Iowa, asking consumers to curtail their water usage this past summer because of excess nitrogen in two local rivers that supply the city.
Yet the EPA, which first mandated the usage of ethanol as a fuel in 2007, is reluctant to curtail its mandated use as a blend for gasoline despite the economic and environmental effects their flawed assumptions have led to. Notably, the Obama administration refuses to give the oil industry a victory. One big change since the ethanol law was passed six years ago is the boom in domestic production, which has kept oil prices low and made ethanol even less attractive price-wise. But farmers have to be able to make a living.
So eliminating or reducing these corn-earmarks would be political suicide for a number of politicians of both parties who represent those states where corn is king. With Obama in office, these regulations are going nowhere.
CBS’s Flawed ‘60 Minutes’ Report
Two weeks ago, CBS’s “60 Minutes” featured a report on Benghazi that we noted. The report included an interview with a former British soldier and security officer at the installation with the pseudonym Morgan Jones. We now know his real name is Dylan Davies. He told CBS’s Lara Logan that he was at the compound the night of the attack, when he confronted an attacker and saw the body of Ambassador Chris Stevens.
However, prior to the interview Davies filed a report with the FBI indicating that he was not at the compound the night of the attack. When CBS realized their mistake, Logan apologized. “We worked on this for a year,” she said. But “we were misled and we were wrong and that’s the important thing, that’s what we have to say here. We have to set the record straight and take responsibility.”
The error, of course, is regrettable for “60 Minutes,” especially given that the media outlet had the guts to go after the story of the Obama administration’s gross dereliction at Benghazi. Yet even had the report been completely accurate, it still missed the essence of the story. The Obama White House left the U.S. consulate in Benghazi woefully under-defended, and then didn’t respond when they received calls for help. Four Americans, including the ambassador, were killed by al-Qaida-related terrorists, and then Obama and his cadres spent the 2012 presidential campaign lying about the attack and the status of al-Qaida as “on the run” in order to ensure the president’s re-election. “60 Minutes” would have been better off taking that angle than interviewing a guy with a thrilling but phony story.
CULTURE, SCIENCE & FAITH
Will the Church Be Obsolete?
On Oct. 1, 2012, Rev. Gary Hall became dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. He wasted no time in entering the political fray, making speeches about gun violence (criticizing the NRA, of course) and homosexual rights. Hall said that, before he was appointed, church officials told him of their “desire to have the pulpit once again be a place where the issues of the day were addressed.” Hall agreed, and wants to “use the cathedral’s symbolic presence in American culture effectively.”
But it wasn’t long before he seemed to contradict himself. Hall responded to a question about “three things that will be obsolete in 10 years” by pointing to the church: “Institutions will be defined in another way. The issues that defined institutions are no longer issues.” Newsbusters’ Tim Graham observed, “We know that liberals try to offer the cartoonish argument that conservatives should not be granted positions in government because they don’t believe in government. By that statement, why would you offer the job of Dean of Washington’s stately National Cathedral to a minister who believes the church as an institution is obsolete?”
Hall added, “People want to explore God in their lives but they look at the churches and synagogues and say, ‘This is not where I want to explore these issues.’” Perhaps that’s the case because pulpits like his choose to redefine God, Scripture and religion in the image of leftism, instead of looking to what Scripture teaches about life and learning from it. The liberal church has indeed nearly become obsolete because of its own false teaching. That’s just one reason why it’s critical for conservative Christians to engage the culture. There is an opening, and culture is the foundation for every other aspect of public life.
Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “The president seems determined that America should become unexceptional, and his five-year-long efforts are now bearing fruit. The result is that no one knows where global violence will break out next, much less who will stop it. France, not the United States, pushes for a tougher front against radical Iran, Islamism and WMD proliferation. Its socialist government is to the right of the United States. Germany is the more adult fiscal power, Japan the more realistic about Chinese aggression, Israel and the Gulf states the more accurate in assessing Iranian nuclear ambitions, and Russia the more dependable problem-solver. … Obama has misled over Benghazi, flipped and flopped over Syria and Egypt, and deceived the American people on the Affordable Care Act. When the American secretary of state has to assure the world that its proposed military action ‘will be unbelievably small’ while the president is forced to explain that our military doesn’t ‘do pinpricks,’ we appear hardly credible or formidable. … Riding the tiger’s back was always risky, but not as much as jumping off and allowing it to run wild. The world now wants someone to get back on – but is unsure about who, when, how and at what cost.”
FRC’s Tony Perkins: “At a private event [recently], President Obama bragged that he was ‘remaking the courts.’ And if his nomination of controversial professor Cornelia Pillard had succeeded, he would have taken a major step toward that goal. … Fortunately, the U.S. Senate was as shocked by her resume as the rest of us and refused to give her nomination a final vote. … But if Pillard’s nomination has taught us anything, it is what’s at stake for America in this overlooked debate. If the President can’t get the legislature to embrace his big government vision, then he’ll appoint judges to do it for him. As FRC’s Ken Klukowski points out, ‘President Obama understands that so much of what he wants to accomplish runs afoul of the historical understanding of the limits on federal power and the proper meaning of the Bill of Rights that he can only achieve that agenda if a critical mass of federal judges agree with his idea that the words of the Constitution can be completely redefined to grant such sweeping and transformational power to the federal government.’”
Columnist Cal Thomas: “A friend of mine once said, ‘Humility is so light a grace that once you think you’ve achieved it, you’ve lost it.’ In so many places – from Washington to Hollywood – people have never had to worry about losing humility, because most have never possessed it. And that is said in all humility.”
For more, visit The Right Opinion.
The BIG Lie
Part I. Barack Obama: “[W]e’ve got to move forward on [ObamaCare]. It took 100 years for us to even get to the point where we could start talking about and implementing a law to make sure everybody’s got health insurance. And my pledge to the American people is, is that we’re going to solve the problems that are there, we’re going to get it right, and the Affordable Care Act is going to work for the American people.”
Part II. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “There’s nothing in the Affordable Care Act that says that your insurance company should cancel you. That’s not what the Affordable Care Act is about. It simply didn’t happen.”
Part III. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer: “You understand that if you had a policy on the day that this bill was adopted, you got to keep it. Now, you didn’t get to keep it if the insurance companies didn’t want to offer it to you.”
Part IV. Rep. James Clyburn: “When [consumers] become aware of what they did not have, I don’t think there’s anything to apologize for.”
Non Compos Mentis
Obama adviser Valerie Jarret: “There isn’t an American who isn’t going to be touched in a positive way by the Affordable Care Act. Change is difficult. Even change for the better is difficult.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz: “Nearly a million people have been approved for a private plan under ObamaCare. They’re still shopping. They haven’t chosen. It’s the shopping season. … This is the way the law was designed to work. They give you options. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head that you have to do it in the next six hours.”
Barack Obama: “[G]rowing our economy, creating new jobs is my top priority. We’ve got to stop the self-inflicted wounds in Washington. Because for many tribal nations, this year’s harmful sequester cuts and last month’s government shutdown made a tough situation worse. Your schools, your police departments, child welfare offices are all feeling the squeeze. That’s why I’m fighting for a responsible budget that invests in the things that we need in order to grow.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “[Republicans] keep looking for ways to keep this president from doing his job. … We need to call out these [Republican] filibusters for what they are: naked attempts to nullify the results of the last presidential election – to force us to govern as though President Obama hadn’t won the 2012 election.”
Oprah Winfrey: “There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African American. There’s no question about that and it’s the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody’s thinking it.”
Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “The actual name of the legislation is not Obamacare, but the Affordable Care Act, named in the same playful manner as how the bald stooge is called ‘Curly.’ Not to imply that Obamacare is as capable or helpful as any of the three stooges.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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