Appeals Court Strikes Down Most ObamaCare Subsidies + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Tue 07/22/2014 by


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“There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from Nation to Nation. ‘Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.” –George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796


Appeals Court Strikes Down Most ObamaCare Subsidies

In a ruling that could undo ObamaCare, a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that billions of dollars in health insurance subsidies are illegal under the wording of the “Affordable” Care Act. CNBC reports, “[S]uch subsidies can be granted only to people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia – not on the federally run exchange Plaintiffs in the case known as Halbig v. Burwell argued that the ACA, as written, only allows that often-significant financial aid to be issued to people who bought insurance on a marketplace set up by a state.” We’ll have more on this important case, but for now, we suppose you shouldn’t pass laws before you read them. There might be something crippling in there. More…

Also read HHS Granting ObamaCare Exemptions Willy Nilly

Perry Calls National Guard to the Border

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced he is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to secure the border between his state and Mexico, saying, “The price of inaction is too high.” In an operation Perry calls Operation Strong Safety, the National Guard will help Border Patrol halt drug traffickers and other organized crime across the border. Some of Perry’s opponents accuse the governor of calling out the troops for political gain. But Perry’s move is an example of a state stepping in where the federal government has failed. The Border Patrol has focused on the waves of Central American children, diverting attention from the other problems along the border. Perry’s move places pressure on Obama, who has shirked his duty up to this point. More…

Obama Added $330 in Regulations Per Citizen This Year

The rolls of red tape have streamed from the Obama administration’s offices thanks to the president’s so-called “Year of Action.” The cronies in Washington have already saddled the nation with $100 billion in regulatory burdens in just six months – with more regulations expected in the coming months, like the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed greenhouse gas standards. The burden works out to about $330 per person, but some states have been hit harder than others. “The manufacturing and energy industry are primarily affected, and thus, so is the Midwest,” The Federalist’s Sam Batkins writes. “Ohio and Pennsylvania ranked third and fourth in 2014 regulatory burdens, with more than $11.4 billion in combined costs. Michigan and Indiana are also in the top ten, with $6.3 billion in burdens between them. On a per capita basis, the energy-rich states of Alaska, Wyoming, and Louisiana, are all in the top five. Their average per-person regulatory burden: $640, or three times Maryland’s paltry share of $209.” Such burdensome regulations don’t exactly help the middle class. More…

The Lerner Emails May Still Exist, But For How Long?

The IRS may still have copies of former-IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails, if the suggestions in the transcript of a closed-door interview are to be believed. Last month, the IRS announced Lerner’s emails were lost forever thanks to a computer crash that conveniently destroyed any evidence regarding her department’s targeting conservative groups. New testimony from Thomas Kane, Deputy Associate Chief Counsel for the IRS, suggests the emails may exist on backup tapes that should have been destroyed months ago. Kane told an investigator with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he isn’t sure “that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the six-month retention schedule … but it’s an issue that’s being looked at.” With the IRS losing everyone’s emails these days, those tapes – if they exist – may not exist for long. More…

White House Pushes Israeli Cease-Fire

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo Monday to help broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Israel has already accepted one cease-fire, only to have Hamas ignore it and continue firing. So Israel responded with a ground invasion of Gaza. Hamas is using civilians as human shields to the utmost effect, to the point Barack Obama says, “We don’t want to see any more civilians getting killed. I have instructed [John Kerry] to push for an immediate cessation of hostilities.” Of course Israel wants a cease-fire, but it takes two to tango. And as for civilian casualties, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel does everything it can to prevent them, but “Hamas wants Palestinian civilians dead – the more the better.” Hamas, he said, is ensuring “this is the cruelest, most grotesque war that I’ve ever seen.”

For more, visit Right Hooks.

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Even Democrats Baffled by Obama’s Foreign Policy

PP_PutinObama_2013-09-12-522a2276_largeThe facts continue to unfold about Thursday’s brutal attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which killed 298 people, and the evidence still points to Russian separatists operating in the Ukraine. The two questions on everyone’s minds now are: Just how complicit is Moscow in the attack, and what does the West, particularly Barack Obama, plan to do about it?

Secretary of State John Kerry made the round of Sunday talk shows to share what officials know so far. U.S. intelligence detected the launch of a surface-to-air missile in the region where the plane crashed at the time it was shot down. It has also been determined that the weapon used was an SA-11 antiaircraft missile, a very sophisticated piece of military hardware Kerry maintains could only be obtained and used with Russian help.

Russia at first denied any missile launch from the ground, claiming a Ukrainian military plane may have been responsible. This claim does not hold up, however, since Ukraine has no reason to be concerned with any airborne threats from the separatists in the east since they do not have an air force. Furthermore, intercepted radio traffic from the pro-Russian separatists indicate that moments after the crash they were discussing successfully shooting down what they believed to be a Ukrainian military transport plane. The Ukrainian and U.S. governments vouch for the authenticity of the transmissions.

The separatists, who originally kept a tight lock on the crash site, began allowing international investigators into the area over the weekend. They collected as many bodies as they could, and a train carrying the remains arrived in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday. The separatists also turned over the flight data recorders.

The separatists’ change of heart to cooperate with the investigation, albeit in minor ways, comes as international pressure mounts to respond to this heinous attack and sympathy for the separatist movement in Ukraine erodes. They may also be getting orders from Moscow to cool off and cooperate until this whole thing blows over.

Vladimir Putin may be well hedging his bets that Western governments will go back to business as usual after a few days of grandstanding. He’s done a fine job these past few years of keeping Europe and a weak American president at bay while he rebuilds the Russian Empire. He’s weathered criticism before, but there is hope this time that the anger stirred by this event will bring about a more muscular response. The threat of shoving Russia into an economic box and keeping her there might throw Putin off balance. He can quash open dissent at home, but he needs the support of the Russian business community to keep his strategy moving forward. If the money starts disappearing, then his supporters will start drifting away.

British, Canadian and EU leaders are calling for stronger, broader and far-reaching economic sanctions and a full withdrawal of Russian military personnel from the area. And Obama?

“Now is the time for Russia and Putin to pivot away from the strategy he has been taking,” Obama said in the White House Rose Garden. “If Russia continues to back these separatists … then Russia will only further isolate itself with the international community.” Not exactly a speech likely to strike fear in the heart of a former KGB agent like Putin.

Even John Kerry has sounded more direct and unequivocal in his public statements about the attack, and his name is practically synonymous with waffle. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, went so far as to call on Germany to take the lead in crafting a response to Russia. Is it because she knows Obama won’t? She said on MSNBC Monday, “This is a very hard time,” citing Syria, ISIL in Iraq, the conflict in Gaza, and the war in Ukraine. “I’m not going to tell the president what to do, but I think the world would very much respect his increased attention on this matter, and I think there ought to be increased attention.”

There you have it. Even the president’s own political allies here at home are calling on him to lay off the fundraisers and golf games and start doing some real presidential-type stuff.

The problem is that after six years of dreadful foreign policy decisions based on a clear disdain for American power in the world, if Obama were to come around now, would anyone even care?

Illegal Minors Come as International Adoption Is Stymied

The Obama administration was warned in early 2012 of pending flood of illegal minors across the southern border. And yet they did nothing because it was a “local problem.” It’s a crisis of the administration’s making because they could exploit the flood for political gain. But the crisis isn’t only of Barack Obama’s making. Guatemala, for example, is now closed for international adoption, leaving many desperate children to cross borders illegally instead.

In 2011, just 4,000 Central American children came to the U.S. illegally. By 2013, that number had jumped to 21,000, and this year there could be 90,000 by the end of September. Yet the White House insists the number is now falling – thanks to their valiant efforts, of course. According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the administration’s “response and efforts to work with Central American leaders to publicize the dangers of the journey,” as well as louder deportation warnings, “have all played a part.”

Earnest didn’t mention the part played by the administration’s lawless actions via his 2012 executive amnesty for “DREAMers.”

But again, this isn’t all Obama’s doing. Fewer international adoptions may play a role. Reason reports, “Until 2007, more than 5,000 Guatemalan children were adopted by parents from other countries each year. Under pressure from groups like Unicef [the United Nations Children’s Fund], however, Guatemala shut down intercountry adoptions.” The U.S. State Department was key in this decision, too, pressuring Guatemala to comply with the United Nations’ Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which makes adoption more difficult.

Reason also notes, “[T]he Guatemalan government shut down international adoptions, created a centrally controlled adoption agency and nationalized the orphanage system. The plan was to promote in-country adoptions, but that plan hasn’t worked. Last year, only 35 children were adopted by Guatemalan families.” El Salvador and Honduras, the other two Central American nations most illegal minors are leaving, also have difficult adoption processes.

This is a world-wide problem, too. World Magazine reports, “International adoption has dropped 69 percent in the last decade, from 22,991 in 2004 to 7,092 in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of State. The decline is not for lack of orphans, or of parents who want to adopt them, but is instead a result of a complex web of international diplomacy and regulations.”

The Obama administration isn’t exactly friendly toward adoption, either. According to National Review’s David French, “In 2012, the IRS requested additional information from 90 percent of returns claiming the adoption tax credit and went on to actually audit 69 percent.” Adoptive families tend to be middle class, conservative and Christian, adding a possible political dimension to this otherwise inexplicable targeting.

Guatemala’s closure doesn’t neatly fit with the surge in border crossing in the U.S., but it does precede it. Correlation does not equal causation. And there are certainly other things driving people out of Central America – the drugs and violence coming from Venezuela, for example.

It’s a perverse effect of adoption policy changes that these kids are no longer adopted by loving families – they’re left to perhaps cross the border illegally and end up in a government shelter before eventually being processed through bureaucracy and courts. This can’t possibly explain every border crossing, or maybe even most, but isn’t it interesting that leftist do-gooders aiming to protect children from fraudulent adoptions have seemingly contributed to a preventable crisis?

Profiles of Valor: Pitts Receives Medal of Honor

Ryan Pitts

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts received the Medal of Honor Monday for his valorous actions in one of Afghanistan’s bloodiest battles.

As is typical of American warriors, Pitts was humble and thankful. “While it is an honor to have been nominated for the award, it is not mine alone,” he said. “The honor belongs to every man who fought at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice that allowed the rest of us to return home. I have an absolute responsibility to tell our story, because there are nine men who cannot and it is their names you should know.” The dead were 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom; Cpl. Jonathan Ayers; Cpl. Jason Bogars; Cpl. Jason Hovater; Cpl. Matthew Phillips; Cpl. Pruitt Rainey; Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling; Sgt. Israel Garcia; and Spc. Sergio Abad.

We told Pitts’ story in June. You can read it here.

For more, visit Right Analysis.


For more, visit Right Opinion.


French Algerian author Albert Camus (1913-1960): “The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.”

Columnist Mona Charen: “Obama began relations with Russia with a ‘reset.’ The premise of this new start was that relations between our nations had deteriorated due to the policies of former President George W. Bush. … Bush may have clung too long to the hope of moderating the criminal in the Kremlin, but Obama had even less excuse. He had the benefit of Bush’s experience. He had witnessed Putin’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, his unflagging support for Iran and Syria, his use of oil and gas to intimidate Ukraine and other nations, his obliteration of democracy in Russia, his muzzling of the press, and his systematic murder of domestic critics. Funny that Obama would have thought that responsibility for the decay in relations should be laid at the feet of Bush.”

Columnist David Limbaugh: “I don’t know a single conservative who supports muzzling leftist thought or speech, no matter how repugnant he may find it. Yet leftists are strongly supportive of various measures to suppress, even outlaw, conservative speech, from campus speech codes to the Fairness Doctrine. There is no way to describe this disparity in terms of moral equivalence. I sincerely believe there is a reason liberals engage in this behavior far more than conservatives. It is because many of them believe that their ends, which they believe are vastly superior, justify their means. I’ve seen it so much that I suspect it is inherent in leftist ideology.”

Comedian Conan O’Brien: “There’s currently a petition to split California into several states. Among the new states would be Botoxia, Pornsylvania, and the Commonwealth of Kardashia.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

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