Florida Bellwether + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Wed 03/12/2014 by

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THE FOUNDATION

“[T]he most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 39, 1788

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Florida Bellwether

Republican David Jolly won the special election for the Florida-13 House seat in what was commonly seen as a referendum on ObamaCare. Though GOP Rep. Bill Young, who died in October, held the seat for nearly 40 years, Barack Obama carried the district in 2008 and 2012, and Democrats viewed it as a virtual must-win. More than $11 million was spent on the campaign, with Democrat loser Alex Sink outspending Jolly nearly 4-1 on the airwaves. Jolly declined to “draw a mandate from this race,” while Democrats are spinning the results, but Jolly campaigned on repealing ObamaCare and it’s obvious the law will remain a hot topic in the 2014 elections.

Clinton Campaign Corruption

Washington businessman Jeffrey Thompson pleaded guilty Monday to illegal campaign finance activities. Thompson funneled millions of dollars to several DC and federal office holders while getting a kickback in the form of city contracts. Among the recipients of his money was Hillary Clinton, whose 2008 presidential bid deposited over $600,000 of Thompson’s “off the books” money. Clinton’s aide, Minyon Moore, sought and secured the contributions, though prosecuting her for campaign finance violations now will be difficult given the expiration of the five-year statute of limitations. Prosecutors say they have no evidence that Clinton was aware of the activity, but let’s face it – the Clintons are pros. And really, what difference does it make anyway?

Lerner Lied

Infamous and former IRS official Lois Lerner intentionally misled Congress, says a new House report. Among the report’s findings are that Lerner sought ways to publicize scrutiny of the Tea Party by provoking lawsuits; that she sought unprecedented “multi-tier review” for conservative tax-exempt applications; that she used her personal email account when managing taxpayer information; that she thought the “fabulously rich and hugely influential” Koch brothers were sufficient reason to crack down on the Tea Party; and that she intended for the IRS to “fix the problem” of the Supreme Court’s errant Citizens United decision overturning some campaign finance restrictions. All in all, it’s no wonder she pleaded the Fifth – it’s the only part of the Constitution that was useful to her.

Enroll or Die

ObamaCare is working so poorly in getting young people to enroll that Barack Obama resorted to appearing with “Hangover” actor Zach Galifianakis in a “Funny or Die” web video touting Healthcare.gov. Galifianakis asked if “that’s the thing that doesn’t work,” to which Obama responded it “works great now.” The White House bragged that after the video aired Funny or Die became the number one referrer to the exchange website, so it must have worked. (To be fair, the video is actually pretty funny.) Bill Clinton’s press secretary Mike McCurry wondered about the effort, saying, “We have to worry about the dignity of the presidency.” Wow, that is bad when you’re getting a lecture about dignity from the Clinton team.

Feinstein Accuses CIA

Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spoke Tuesday about allegations the CIA illegally tampered with the committee members’ computers, saying, “I am not taking it lightly.” The evidence, derived from an internal investigation, now goes to the Justice Department, which will review the case and weigh criminal charges. Feinstein said the CIA’s alleged tactics were in violation of the Fourth Amendment, adding, “I have received neither” an apology nor acknowledgement of the actions. (CIA director John Brennan denies any wrongdoing.) Certainly, if such charges prove true, those accountable should be prosecuted. However, Feinstein would do well to apologize herself to all Americans for defying her oath to support and defend the Constitution, most egregiously by exploiting tragic mass shootings in hopes of stripping our Second Amendment rights.

For more, visit Right Hooks.

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

Environmentalists Threaten Energy Development

Energy and the sage grouse

Energy and the sage grouse

Unhappy with their inability to halt the nation’s growing oil and gas industry, envirofascists are pushing the Department of the Interior to add a record 757 new species to the Endangered Species Act in an attempt to close off 50 to 100 million acres to any kind of economic development. One bird for which they seek “protection” is the sage grouse, which is found in 11 western states, raising the question that if it lives in such a wide swath of territory, just how endangered can it be?

That is a question Interior refuses to answer. Like many of its studies over the years that have led to numerous additions to the ESA list, the department won’t divulge the method by which it arrives at its decisions to define animals as endangered. A recent report put together by 13 House members and led by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings details numerous discrepancies in ESA research, including the use of selective data, biased sampling, inaccurate mapping and subjective interpretation of results.

The shoddy research stands unchallenged because environmental groups use a “sue and settle” strategy that basically floods the government with lawsuits that are more easily settled out of court than challenged on the merits. Two groups, Wildlife Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity, have been involved in more than 1,000 such lawsuits since 1990. Their aim is nothing short of ending fossil-fuel production in the United States. Their tactics have become so brazen that even Democrats like Senator Harry Reid and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper have complained that adding the sage grouse to the ESA list will have a massively negative economic impact on their respective states. Whether they will do anything about it is another story.

According to the Department of the Interior, the sage grouse and the prairie chicken, another potential addition to the list of endangered species, have habitats near the Bakken Shale fields of North Dakota and the Permian Basin in Texas, respectively. If the department’s actions go unchallenged, these huge sources of fossil fuels could be essentially cut off from development. If the “science” of the environmentalists is as solid as they claim, then they should be called upon to defend their findings in an open forum. Let the facts speak for themselves, if they can.

Doc Fixing the Individual Mandate

Another doc fix

Another doc fix

The House is working on health care reform bills to fix a few of ObamaCare’s massive problems. One is the Equitable Access to Care and Health Act, which passed Tuesday on a voice vote under a suspension of the rules, meaning at least 50 Democrats had to join Republicans. The EACH Act addresses religious liberty – a hot topic of late – by expanding the religious exemption from ObamaCare’s individual mandate. Only the Amish and the Old Order of Mennonites currently receive such an exemption, but under the new bill anyone can include a sworn statement citing religious objections to medical care with their tax return. The bill does not repeal the ObamaCare mandate that employers provide health insurance that may violate their religious beliefs.

Another bill is the annual ritual of the “doc fix,” in which Congress once again overrides scheduled cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates. The Sustainable Growth Rate formula always needing the override would reduce rates by up to 30%, and when many physicians are already turning away patients with Medicare or Medicaid, such a “fix” is almost politically guaranteed. The current one expires March 31.

But this time there’s a wrinkle. Both chambers are looking to replace the old formula and make the fix permanent, and the House seeks to do so while paying for the 10-year, $138 billion tab by delaying ObamaCare’s individual mandate, though the timeframe has not yet been released. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that delaying the mandate by one year would save $9 billion, while repealing it altogether would save $282 billion over 10 years.

Obviously, delaying or repealing the individual mandate stands no chance in the Senate, much less of getting Barack Obama’s signature. The president argues that the mandate is essential to the law’s success. But tying the doc fix to mandate repeal puts House Democrats in a very uncomfortable spot in this election year. The vote is schedule for Friday.

We should clarify one thing: A legislative delay of the individual mandate stands no chance of getting Obama’s signature, but he’ll happily – if quietly – delay it himself. Buried in a recent HHS technical bulletin is another wave of Obama’s magic wand, delaying until 2016 the mandate for Americans whose insurance was cancelled. It falls under the “hardship” exemptions, and all that’s necessary is filling out a form attesting that you “believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy” or “you consider other available policies unaffordable.” Maybe Nancy Pelosi was right; they did have to pass it to find out what’s in it.

For more, visit Right Analysis.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Columnist Terence Jeffrey: “Obama’s budget calls for HHS to spend $15 billion over 10 years to fund an Obamacare provision called the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. An HHS budget document says this program will send government-funded ‘nurses, social workers, and other professionals’ into people’s homes to ‘improve parenting skills.’ … Education, in its highest sense, is not about teaching children reading or writing or mathematics. It is about forming character. It is about teaching children to love what is right and to fight what is wrong. Obama and others who share his materialist point of view have a perverse understanding of this. They want to form your children’s character. But they do not want to teach your children to love what is right and fight what is wrong. They want to recruit them for the other side. … Obama’s vision of a government that ‘educates’ babies aims at forming the characters of the tragically increasing number of children born illegitimately in the United States – and as many other children as his programs can reach. His strategic aim is to make them allies in his cause.”

Economist Walter E. Williams: “Billions of dollars and billions of hours are spent campaigning for this or that candidate in our national elections. You can bet that people are not making those expenditures so that politicians will uphold and defend the Constitution; they’re looking for favors. The Constitution’s framers gave us reasonably fair and neutral rules of the game. If our government acted, as the framers intended, as a referee or night watchman, how much difference would it make to any of us who occupies the White House or Congress? It would make little difference, if any. It would be just like our basketball game example. Any government official who knew and enforced the rules would do. But increasingly, who’s in office is making a difference, because government has abandoned its referee and night watchman function and gotten into the business of determining winners and losers. Unfortunately, for our nation, that’s what most Americans want.”

Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784): “All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it.”

Brent Bozell & Tim Graham: “After months of pressing the CBS News brass to get out of her contract, reporter Sharyl Attkisson was finally granted her request. While that is good for her, it ought to underline how CBS has abandoned hard-hitting reporting in the Obama era. … Remember this the next time a pompous liberal anchorman like Brian Williams laments that ‘politics is broken.’ Journalism is broken. There is no such thing as journalistic independence. When a veteran reporter stands out like a sore thumb by merely trying to get answers for the American people on how a fiasco like Benghazi happened, she is not the issue. Her network purporting to be in the news business is.”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “If Obama was teaming up with Zach Galifianakis, they should have done a Hangover-type sketch to explain how the Obamacare bill got made.”

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.

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