The Patriot Post® · Daily Digest
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, 1820
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Yet Another Delay
Today ends in “y,” and that means it’s time for another delay of a politically inconvenient ObamaCare mandate or deadline. This time it’s the March 31 deadline for enrollment. HHS declared that people who started to enroll but haven’t completed doing so now have until mid-April to finish. And it’s on the honor system – all people have to do is check a box on Healthcare.gov pledging that they’ve tried to enroll. HHS explained that the delay is needed because of a “surge in demand,” even though way back on March 11 HHS explained, “We have no plans to extend the open enrollment period. In fact, we don’t actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period in 2014.” So much for that. The bottom line is Obama knows he can take whatever measures he wants because any objection from Republicans will look like they’re against easing the pain of ObamaCare.
Russia the ‘Regional Power’
ABC’s Jon Karl handed Barack Obama a tough question Tuesday, asking, “[D]o you think Mitt Romney had a point when he said that Russia is America’s biggest geopolitical foe? Obviously, Obama’s pride won’t let him admit his opponent had a point, so he rambled on trying to sound like he actually knows what he’s saying instead. Among his pontifications, he declared, "Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors – not out of strength, but out of weakness.” Wrong. Russia is absolutely a geopolitical threat to the U.S., and Obama is the one displaying weakness. “Russia’s actions are a problem,” Obama conceded, but, “They don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.” If a nuclear weapon is detonated in Manhattan, you better believe that the fingerprints of Putin’s surrogates in Syria and Iran will be all over that device.
Pilot Warns of Military Social Push
The Left’s effort to undermine the military through social engineering is succeeding, according to one F/A-18 pilot. U.S. Navy Cmdr. Guy Snodgrass posted a remarkably frank assessment on the U.S. Naval Institute website, warning naval commanders, “The U.S. Navy has a looming officer retention problem,” and the reason is that our warriors are busy fighting for “social justice.” He wrote, “Sailors continue to cite the over-focus on social issues by senior leadership, above and beyond discussions on war fighting – a fact that demoralizes junior and mid-grade officers alike.” Obama’s goal as commander in chief has clearly been to knock the U.S. down a few pegs in the world, and pushing leftist social rot in the military ranks is key to that plan.
Michelle Obama’s America
Michelle Obama travelled to China to deliver a backhanded compliment to America: “Many decades ago, there were actually laws in America that allowed discrimination against black people like me, who are a minority in the United States,” she said. However, “slowly but surely, America changed. We got rid of those unjust laws. And today, just 50 years later, my husband and I are president and first lady of the United States. And that is really the story of America.” There you have it – the story of America is that even two socialists like them can occupy the White House. Her husband’s narcissism has clearly rubbed off on her.
Mudslides & Global Warming
There is no natural phenomenon these days that is not somehow linked to a (non)warming world. Slate’s Eric Holthaus wasted no time blaming the recent devastating mudslide in Oso, Washington, on the side effects of global warming. “One of the most well-forecast and consequential components of human-caused climate change is the tendency for rainstorms to become more intense as the planet warms,” he writes. “As the effect becomes more pronounced, that will make follow-on events like flooding and landslides more common. But we don’t have to wait for the future. This is already happening.” Yet according to the Associated Press, “A scientist working for the government had warned 15 years ago about the potential for a catastrophic landslide in the fishing village where the collapse of a rain-soaked hillside over the weekend killed at least 14 people and left scores missing.” Holthaus admits in the same article that the “disaster occurred in an area known for its landslides.” But like all alarmists, he just couldn’t resist provoking the debate.
Religious Liberty on Trial Before the Supreme Court
The Affordable Care Act is the law that keeps on giving. Last time it was before the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts validated the horror that is ObamaCare when he declared the individual mandate penalty to be a tax, and thus within the constitutional power of Congress to create. Tuesday, the Supremes heard another challenge to the law in the form of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius – both cases dealing with mandates and religious liberty.
Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts chain owned by evangelical Christians. With more than 13,000 employees, the company faces potential fines of almost $475 million a year if it fails to comply with ObamaCare’s demands. Conestoga Wood Specialties is a kitchen cabinet manufacturer owned by Mennonites, and, with almost 1,000 employees, it faces penalties of $35 million per year for failure to comply. The owners of both companies contend that complying with ObamaCare’s mandate that employer-provided health insurance cover contraceptives – even more specifically the mandate that coverage include abortifacients – would force them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. More than 300 plaintiffs in over 90 lawsuits have joined them in the fight.
The suit pits the First Amendment’s free exercise of religion and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) against ObamaCare. Under RFRA, the government may not substantially burden the free exercise of religion unless it can show that the burden advances a compelling interest using the least restrictive means of achieving that interest. (This is the federal law that is mirrored in Arizona, the amendment of which was the subject of the kerfuffle there last month.)
The Obama administration argues that business owners from the corner dry cleaner to corporate giants like Exxon give up their constitutional right to exercise their religion when they establish a business. And in essence, leftists want the government to stay out of their bedroom, but they want taxpayers and employers to pay for what happens in it.
The Court’s female justices, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dominated the questioning of counsel during the oral argument, trying to make the issue one of “women’s rights” instead of religious liberty. Sotomayor asked whether corporations objecting on religious grounds to providing contraception coverage might also object to vaccinations or blood transfusions. Ginsberg asserted that it “seems strange” that the RFRA could have generated bipartisan support if lawmakers thought corporations would use it to enforce their own religious beliefs.
Kagan claimed that the corporate challengers are taking an “uncontroversial law” like the RFRA and making it into something that would upend “the entire U.S. code,” since companies would be able to object on religious grounds to laws on sex discrimination, minimum wage, family leave and child labor. She complained that “everything would be piecemeal and nothing would be uniform.” Forced uniformity is the leftists’ goal, after all. But if employers wanted to claim religious objections to the minimum wage, why haven’t they already?
Sotomayor and Kagan each outrageously suggested that employers who have moral objections to ObamaCare mandates should drop health care coverage for their employees in favor of the tax. “But isn’t there another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than the cost of health insurance at all?” Sotomayor asked.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the swing vote, voiced concerns both about the rights of female employees and the business owners. He asked what rights women would have if their employers ordered them to wear burkas, a full-length robe commonly worn by conservative Islamic women. Later, on the other hand, he seemed troubled by how the logic of the government’s argument would apply to abortions. “A profit corporation could be forced in principle to pay for abortions,” Kennedy said. The government’s “reasoning would permit it.”
The First Amendment plainly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And the Religious Freedom Restoration Act adds statutory backing to that liberty by protecting people and businesses against infringement of their liberty. Yet ObamaCare’s entire structure is about forcing people to engage in buying health insurance while dictating what that insurance covers. In a nation of 300 million people, this is bound to cause problems beyond basic infringement of liberty.
Tragically, the Court upheld the law as a whole in 2012, but, on the bright side, it appears the contraception mandate will be struck down, and the vote against it may even be 6-3. We’ll find out this June.
Meanwhile, Libya Descends Into Chaos
The Obama administration came into power arrogantly proclaiming the dawn of “smart power,” by which they meant the mere force of Barack Obama’s personality would settle all international disputes and restore peace and calm to the world. But his actions in Libya have destabilized the country and the region.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Brent Bozell & Tim Graham: Incredible, Shrinking ObamaCare
- Jacob Sullum: Free Birth Control and Unfree Photographers
- Michelle Malkin: My Trip to the Pot Shop
- John Stossel: Bullies Rule
- Walter Williams: Bizarre Arguments & Behavior
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Columnist John Stossel: “[The government] employs 22 million people. Not all have the power to impose force on the rest of us, but millions do. Some use it to bully us in big and petty ways. Twenty-two million government workers delay the Keystone XL oil pipeline, raid poker games, force us to put ethanol in cars, prohibit drugs and medical devices that might make our lives better, take about half our money, and jail more citizens than even China and Russia do. Like frightened kids in elementary school, we learn to accept this, to think it’s natural. But it’s not right that government forbids people in pain to make their own choices about what might help them. Voluntary is better than force. Free is better than coerced. We’re better off when government is small and people are left to do as they please, unburied.”
Roman statesman Cornelius Tacitus (55-117 A.D.): “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”
Economist Walter Williams: “The late H.L. Mencken’s description of health care professionals in his day is just as appropriate today: ‘A certain section of medical opinion, in late years, has succumbed to the messianic delusion. Its spokesmen are not content to deal with the patients who come to them for advice; they conceive it to be their duty to force their advice upon everyone, including especially those who don’t want it. That duty is purely imaginary. It is born of vanity, not of public spirit. The impulse behind it is not altruism, but a mere yearning to run things.’”
Fred Thompson: “Obama warned Russia to leave Ukraine alone or he would act to take a ‘toll on the Russian economy.’ Watch out guys. Ruining an economy is something he knows something about.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.