July 28, 2014
Column: Halbig Is an Opportunity for Supreme Court To Rededicate Itself to Rule of Law
True, the Halbig case, if it makes its way to the Supreme Court, will present an opportunity for Chief Justice John Roberts to redeem himself from his abominably activist salvation of Obamacare. But more important, it will be an opportunity for the high court to reaffirm this nation's commitment to the rule of law.
In Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that under the Affordable Care Act federal health insurance subsidies are available for policies purchased only on state exchanges and not those purchased on the federal exchange.
If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will also have a rich opportunity to slap down the out-of-control, politicized Internal Revenue Service. Under this administration, the IRS has behaved as though it were a super-legislature with authority not just to promulgate regulations beyond its narrowly prescribed statutory power, but also to change laws wholesale in order to serve the administration's policy ends.
A proper wrist slapping of the IRS might well send a long overdue message to all federal administrative agencies -- take the renegade EPA, for example -- that they don't have carte blanche to do whatever they decide to do.
The ACA provides for the establishment of state exchanges through which consumers can purchase health insurance. The law did not make the establishment of such exchanges mandatory, and only 14 of the 50 states did so.
July 24, 2014
Column: Obama's Utopian Statism Is Both Below and On the Radar
It's no wonder President Obama tries to lock his normally fawning liberal media out of his fundraisers. He says things he doesn't want even them to hear -- or report. Sometimes they complain, but their disgraceful loyalty never wanes.
On the West Coast earlier this week to meet donors from two top Democratic super PACs, he specifically excluded the press. According to Politico, "the reporters and photographers traveling with the president on Air Force One and in his motorcade were left on the gravel path not even within sight of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal's house in the Seattle suburbs where Obama sat for a Senate Majority PAC fundraiser with a $25,000 entrance fee."
The same thing happened the next morning, when he didn't even tell his media cheerleaders what floor of the downtown San Francisco Four Seasons hotel he was on while panhandling with major donors for the House Majority PAC.
Christi Parsons, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, emitted a toothless protest, saying: "We think these fundraisers ought to be open to at least some scrutiny, because the president's participation in them is fundamentally public in nature. Denying access to him in that setting undermines the public's ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing." You think?
Then why do you all continue to cover for this man and his policies? Why do you never hold him accountable for his ongoing whopper that he is running the "most transparent administration in history"?
July 21, 2014
Column: Moral Equivalence Is Usually Moral Negligence
Efforts to proclaim moral equivalence are not always misguided; sometimes each side is equally at fault or close enough. But these efforts are often misguided and unhelpful -- and sometimes harmful.
Throughout my life, there has been an increasing trend to attach moral equivalence to all kinds of disputes and conflicts, such as Israel vs. Hamas, which is the subject of a future column. I assume this is mostly an outgrowth of our culture's descent into moral relativism, but it's also a product of our intellectual laziness.
We see it everywhere. It is a common practice in describing marriages gone wrong. "It takes two." "Who's to say who is more at fault?" Well, that sounds good and is often true, but how about in the case of the spousal or child abuser?
But where I find it most troubling is in partisan politics. There the trend toward moral equivalence is the wrongdoer's best friend. If we dismiss every despicable and corrupt act with the mindless cliche "everyone does it," then we excuse the wrongdoer for his misconduct and encourage further misbehavior.
Sure, both sides are often at fault, but that isn't always the case, and it doesn't make you a better person to say otherwise if it isn't true.
July 14, 2014
Column: No, Mr. Holder, This Has Nothing to Do With Race
Attorney General Eric Holder once again played the race card -- this time on national television, in an interview on ABC's "This Week," claiming that he and President Obama have been targets of "a racial animus" by some of the administration's political opponents.
"There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me (and) directed at the president," said Holder. "You know, people talk about taking their country back. ... There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don't think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some, there's a racial animus." Reminded of his comments during Obama's first year as president that the U.S. is a "nation of cowards" on race, he refused to back down.
At this point, I don't know whether we're seeing the outworking of the gigantic racial chips on Holder's and Obama's shoulders or we're seeing just another despicable example of the two engaging in community organizing by branding their political opponents as racists.
These two have continually engaged in the politics of division, alienating Americans against one another on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, geography, income and every other conceivably exploitable category. By portraying themselves as victims and conservatives as bigots, they seek to intimidate conservatives from pursuing their agenda, divert attention from their own policy failures and keep the pot stirred on imaginary problems as cover to advance the remainder of their unpopular statist agenda.
Sorry, Mr. Holder, but it seems that we talk about race all the time and that you and President Obama just won't let it go. If there is cowardice on this issue, it's from those who refuse to let their actions speak for themselves and insist on injecting false allegations of racism into the mix to vilify opponents and avoid a discussion on serious issues.
July 10, 2014
Column: Obama the Problem Creator
Only if we understand that Wednesday was "Opposite Day" can we comprehend President Obama's bizarre remarks in Texas concerning our border crisis.
He said he had asked Gov. Rick Perry, "Are (members of Congress) more interested in politics, or are they more interested in solving the problem? ... If the preference is for politics, then it won't be solved."
Everything Obama does is about politics. If he weren't endlessly raising money for his hyper-partisan Democratic Party, he wouldn't have even bothered to fly to Texas in the first place. His entire approach to the immigration issue is to fast-track as many illegals as he can, with the long-term goal of turning the country permanently blue, which happens to be a political, not humanitarian, motivation. Obama is so thoroughly political that commentators can't even discuss Obama without focusing on the "optics." Would it be that hard for them to assess, just once, whether he's doing the right thing?
Obama said: "This isn't theater. This is a problem. I'm not interested in photo ops; I'm interested in solving a problem."
Oh? In 2004, as senator-elect, he said, "I'm so overexposed I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse." His name or face appeared on half of Time magazine covers in 2008. As of the August 2009 edition, he had appeared on seven Time covers since his election in November 2008. Newsweek featured Obama on 12 of its 2008 issues. Obama marked his first 100 days in office with 300 photos -- all of him. On Nov. 25, 2009, Drudge Report had a photo of him leaving the White House holding an issue of GQ magazine with his own picture on the cover. He appeared on "America's Most Wanted" to commemorate its 1,000th episode. He's appeared on ESPN, Leno, Letterman, "60 Minutes," Conan, Oprah and on and on.
July 03, 2014
Column: As Obamacare Goes, So Goes Obama
It's no accident that Obamacare has become emblematic of the Obama administration overall, because it exemplifies so thoroughly what Obama represents ideologically and functionally.
Obamacare symbolizes government largesse, incompetence, inefficiency, arrogance and heartlessness, a government that knows better than you what is good for you. It epitomizes staggering spending, waste and debt. It typifies a government that is too big for its britches, which is crushing your liberties while telling you that it has your best interests at heart and that you can't live without it. It stands for wholesale dishonesty -- something that is entirely different from what it pretends to be and what we were told it would be.
President Obama has come to personify these very traits, so it is only fitting that Obamacare has fixed itself to him as he fixed himself to it. He personally represents government largesse, incompetence (except for his consummate skill at advancing statism), arrogance, someone who knows better than you do what is good for you, someone who recklessly spends the nation's resources with no apparent concern for citizens' will or their financial well-being, a man who is subordinating (and thus destroying) our freedoms to his ideology, and someone who is fundamentally dishonest with the American people. Through his arbitrary and capricious implementation of Obamacare, among other things, President Obama is also showing us his singular propensity for lawlessness.
As Obamacare goes, so goes Obama, and lately the verdicts on Obamacare have been horrendous. It's no accident that Obama's approval ratings are in the toilet right along with his "signature achievement."
Fifty-seven percent of Americans, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, say Obamacare isn't working as planned. Americans are also finally waking up to the fact that Obama isn't working out as they planned, either, as his approval ratings are lower than ever and he is seen as the worst president since World War II, which is generous.
June 30, 2014
Column: How Can Anyone Trust Obama?
Do you remember what President Obama initially said about the Internal Revenue Service scandal? Do you recall his professed outrage?
Obama wanted us to know how furious he was. He said, "The misconduct that (the inspector general's report) uncovered is inexcusable." "It's inexcusable," he repeated, "and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency -- but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives."
He declared that the "responsible parties" would be held "accountable." He reported that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "took the first step by requesting -- and accepting -- the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS (Steven Miller) because given the controversy surrounding this audit, it's important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward." He said he had directed the agency to implement recommendations from the inspector general to ensure that this outrageous conduct would not be repeated.
Please don't snicker at this, but Obama also promised that his administration would work "hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed."
Be advised that he was reading from a prepared statement, which means he wasn't shooting from the hip and said precisely what he intended to say.