Thursday, July 24, 2014

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Tuesday morning in Halbig v. Burwell that the government isn’t Humpty Dumpty and so statutory text doesn’t mean whatever the government says it means. The Affordable Care Act provision at issue, which grants tax credits for people to buy health insurance, only applies to people buying policies through “exchanges established by the State” — which in any sane world can’t apply to exchanges established by the federal government. The fact that the vast majority of states (36) have declined the federal government’s invitation to establish exchanges — the list grows weekly as initially supportive states’ exchanges fail — and that the resulting system thus doesn’t function as some hoped is of no moment.

Here’s the background, in case you haven’t been following this particular Obamacare challenge. To encourage the purchase of health insurance, the Affordable Care Act added a number of deductions, exemptions, and penalties to the federal tax code. As might be expected from a 2,700-page law, these new tax provisions can interact in counterintuitive ways. As first discovered by Michael Cannon and Jonathan Adler, one of the new tax law sections, when combined with state decisionmaking and Interal Revenue Service rulemaking, has given Obamacare yet another legal problem.

The legislation’s §1311 provides a subsidy for anyone who buys insurance from an insurance exchange “established by the State.” The provision was supposed to be an incentive for states to create their own exchanges, but in most states, the federal government ended up establishing its own exchange, as another section of the ACA specifies. But where §1311 only explicitly authorized a tax credit for people who buy insurance from a state exchange, the IRS issued a rule interpreting §1311 as also applying to purchases from federal exchanges.
This creative interpretation most obviously hurts employers, who are fined for every employee who receives such a tax credit/subsidy to buy an exchange plan when their employer fails to comply with the mandate to provide health insurance. But it also hurts some individuals, such as David Klemencic, a lead plaintiff in Halbig. Klemencic lives in a state, West Virginia, that never established an exchange, and for various reasons he doesn’t want any of the insurance options available to him.

Because buying insurance would cost him more than 8% of his income, he should be immune from Obamacare’s individual mandate tax on the decision not to buy insurance. After the IRS expanded §1311 to subsidize people in states with federal exchanges, however, Klemencic could’ve bought health insurance for an amount low enough to again subject him to the Roberts tax.

Klemencic and plaintiffs in multiple lawsuits around the country argue that they face these costs only because the IRS exceeded the scope of its powers by extending a tax credit not authorized by Congress. The district court in Halbigrejected that argument, ruling that, under the highly deferential test courts apply to actions by administrative agencies, the IRS only had to show that its interpretation of §1311 was reasonable — which the court was satisfied it had.

And indeed so did the Fourth Circuit later today, in the case of King v. Burwellout of Virginia. There the panel found “that the applicable statutory language is ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations.” When a court finds statutory ambiguity — judges are good at manufacturing it when they don’t want to enforce the law as written — it defers to the agency action that purports to interpret that statute.

Here that’s judicial mischief bordering on tomfoolery. Indeed, the Fourth Circuit even likely timed the release of King in a way to blunt the political/media impact of the Halbig. To have them both come down on the same day is coincidence enough, but the King opinion apparently “leaked” before counsel on the case were advised via the electronic distribution system and before the ruling was put on the court’s own website, as is standard practice.

While it’s manifestly the province of the judiciary to say “what the law is,” where the law’s text leaves no question as to its meaning — as is the case here with the phrase “established by the State” — it’s neither right nor proper for a court to replace the laws passed by Congress with those of its own invention or the invention of civil servants. If Congress wants to extend the tax credit beyond the terms of the Affordable Care Act, it can do so by passing new legislation. The only reason for executive-branch officials not to go back to Congress for clarification, and instead legislate by fiat, is to bypass the democratic process, thereby undermining constitutional separation of powers.

These IRS-tax-credit cases ultimately aren’t about money, the wisdom of individual health care decisionmaking, or even political opposition to Obamacare. They’re about who gets to create the laws we live by: the democratically elected members of Congress or the bureaucrats charged with no more than executing the laws that Congress passes and the president signs.

The government would have the IRS and courts rewrite the law to fix its massive structural weaknesses. But neither executive-agency bureaucrats nor judges can change Obamacare’s text, after-the-fact legal rationalizing notwithstanding. Today’s conflicting rulings show that Obamacare, a cynical political bargain that lacked popular support from day one, simply doesn’t work as conceived. 

It’s time to repeal this Frankenstein’s monster and instead pass market-based health care reform that lowers costs, expands choice, and increases quality-all while respecting the rule of law.

Obamacare is what we have always said it was.

It’s not just bad policy; it’s now proven to be poor law too.

Time to repeal it, and replace it with alternative free-market solutions.

Only in Washington, DC would you “solve” the problem of the government not being able to afford an aging population by burdening the taxpayers with the rest of the population that is uninsurable.

Whether you buy into the Dems argument that the exclusion of subsidies to states without exchanges in the ACA law was a “drafting error,” “a typo,” or-- the Republicans’ contention-- that it was deliberate deceit, the biggest problem with the law is the law itself. And the policy. And the math. And the laws of nature. And the sum total of science that has revealed itself since the beginning of creation.

Anxious to win a Nobel, er, Grammy, er, Golden Globe, er, make a name for himself as the GREATEST PROGRESSIVE WHO EVER LIVED, Obama and his Merry Band of Mental Midgets passed a law that wasn’t even read, yet alone proofed for typos.

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” said the Most Mental, “away from the fog of the controversy.”

Good thing it’s not controversial, Nancy, you know now that it’s been passed and we know what’s in it.

Because the fog has lifted and, um, that wasn’t a fog. That was a stench so thick you could see it.

Here’s a short list of things that are wrong with the law:
    1) Subsidies are illegal outside the state exchanges
    2) They had to implement a “doc fix”
    3) The law has changed the complexion of the labor force to less work, fewer jobs
    4) Taxes, taxes, taxes
    5) The law adds to the deficit long-term, it doesn’t work as a deficit fighter, Ezra Klein, you freakin’ liar
    6) It does nothing to solve the problem of runaway cost unless you start to ration care and impose price controls—which is likely the next step
    7) It imposes another level of bureaucracy to a system already burdened by bureaucratic expense
    8) It interferes with the relationship between the doctor and the patient-- which is the most important relationship, economic as well as professional, that needs to be restored to make the system work
    9) It’s been used as a political tool to beat up religious and other groups with whom progressives disagree
    10) It’s an overreach of government power interfering with God-given rights
    11) It’s another boondoggle subject to vote buying schemes
    12) The law can’t be implemented; witness, um, the constant delays
The law is so bad that Obama has promised to defy the courts and implement it even if the courts find against it.

Why does that matter? Only because what that really admits is that ultimately to make the law “work” – and in this case we use the term “work” only in regards to implementation, not policy success—the federal government will have to use coercion.

That is to say the law is so bad, that since it can’t be implemented any other way, it will be implemented by force if necessary.

We have entered a very dangerous time in our nation’s history when laws aren’t being bent to national exigencies, but rather broken because of personal whims.

So the fight against Obamacare is the Stamp Act, the penny tax on tea, the Gunpowder Alarms of today. This is the same existential threat that faced our grandparents.

“We face this new crisis-this new threat to the security of our Nation-with the same courage and realism,” said Franklin Roosevelt about the threat from Hitler, who successfully implemented universal healthcare with the help of death panels. “Never before since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock has our American civilization been in such danger as now.”

Never before.

And what happens tomorrow is largely up to you. If you want to be defeatist, go ahead. I'm going to fight.

We will either prove ourselves worthy of previous generations who bequeathed to us liberty unencumbered, or we will be found wanting, giving away those gifts that God told us could not be given over to any man or government.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. And I shall repay.

OIC-Driven U.N. launches probe into alleged Israeli “war crimes” in Gaza

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

Jews defending themselves is a “war crime.” The US underwrites close to 25% of the UN budget; why must the US taxpayer fund this annihilationist organization?

I am sure that the mullahs and their lapdogs at the UN were surprised by the US criticism in response to this “war crimes” propaganda. I am sure that they were counting on a weak and meaningless Obama flapping his relentless tongue. But U.S. ambassador Keith Harper, calling for a vote, said that the resolution was “destructive” and a “political and biased instrument.” “Once again, this Council fails to address the situation in Israel and in the Palestinian territories with any semblance of balance.

There is no mention of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas into Israel or the tunnels used to cause mayhem.”

The UN is not fixable.

The idea that the holocaust was the impetus behind the creation of the UN is a monstrous irony. Sixty years ago, democracies, both nascent and well established, comprised the majority of the founding nations of the UN. The members of the General Assembly

were strategically aligned primarily along what would become the lines of the Cold War. America was confident that the UN would be an organization which would work in tandem with American national interests in promoting the welfare of humankind and the basic rights of every human spirit.

We could not have been more wrong. Because within 20 years, global politics and the UN had been wildly altered. By...

Netanyahu: “Hamas is like ISIS, Hamas is like al Qaeda, Hamas is like Hezbollah, Hamas is like Boko Haram”

netanyahu2 / Jihad Watch
He is absolutely right about this, and yet even though it is a blazingly obvious point, he is the only world leader who has dared to point out that all these “extremist” groups have a unified ideology, a shared belief system, and a common goal. The rest are mired in willful ignorance to one degree or another, and to the detriment of us all.

“Netanyahu: Hamas Is Islamist Extremism Like al Qaeda, ISIS,” NBC News, July 23, 2014:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened Hamas to al Qaeda, ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups Tuesday as he implored the international community to hold Palestinian militants responsible for the bloodshed in Gaza. Israel’s top politician said Hamas must be held accountable for rejecting multiple cease-fire agreements and a relentless attack on Israeli civilians.
Netanyahu made his comments at a joint press conference in Tel Aviv alongside U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. “What we’re seeing here with Hamas is another instance of Islamist extremism, violent extremism that has no resolvable grievance,” Netanyahu said.
“Hamas is like ISIS, Hamas is like al Qaeda, Hamas is like Hezbollah, Hamas is like Boko Haram.” Ban, who earlier in the day met Secretary of State John Kerry in Cairo, urged both sides to work towards a two-state solution. “My message to Israelis and Palestinians is the same: stop fighting, start talking and take on the root causes of the conflict so we are not back to the same situation in another six months or a year,” he said.
Ban Ki-Moon doesn’t have the first foggiest idea of what the root causes of this conflict are.

Don’t Believe Those Lying Job Numbers

by   / Personal Liberty Digest

Don’t Believe Those Lying Job Numbers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the United States gained 288,000 jobs in June, and Barack Obama couldn’t have been happier.

“Make no mistake,” he gloated. “We are headed in the right direction.”

What a crock! A closer look at the numbers proves that instead of the economy getting better, it is a disaster for people who lack a job and want one.

First, about those so-called job gains: It turns out the economy actually lost 523,000 full-time jobs last month. That’s an absolute tragedy! The only way the Obama Administration could claim any gains was because of an increase of 811,000 part-time jobs. And this is the “victory” that Obama wants to celebrate?

There are two reasons why employers are offering more than three times as many part-time jobs today as full-time ones. The first is because of Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act mandates that anyone working 30 hours a week or more must be provided with company-paid-for health insurance.

More and more employers are hiring part-time workers to keep from falling under that legislation’s dictates.

The second reason for a decline in full-time jobs is nerves. Or maybe I should say a total lack of confidence that the Obama Administration will adopt policies that will help this economy get growing again. Of course, taxes are too high; but Obama wants to make them even higher. Of course, regulations are too onerous; yet the Obama Administration keeps adding more and more.

Under the circumstances, if you were the CEO of a company, would you tell your shareholders that this is the time to invest, expand and take on more risk? I very much doubt it.

Faced with all of this, how is that, then, that the unemployment numbers continue to decline? Let’s assume for a moment that they’re not being fudged (which many of us are convinced they are) and that unemployment, at least the way the government calculates it, did decline to 6.1 percent last month. Is this any reason to cheer?

Not on your life! The fact of the matter is that the number declined because 2.4 million Americans have become so discouraged they’ve stopped even bothering to look for a job. They’re no longer counted as part of the workforce.

Heck, the way the unemployment numbers are calculated, the best thing that could happen in this country would be for every unemployed person to stop looking for a job. If that were to happen, the unemployment rate would be zero. Just imagine how excited Obama would be to trumpet that news!

The grim reality is that the proportion of adult Americans in the workforce has fallen to 62.8 percent.

That’s the lowest it’s been in the past 36 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 91 million Americans over the age of 16 don’t hold any sort of job today, full time or part time. That’s the highest that number has ever been. It means there are nearly 10 million fewer jobs in America today than there were when Obama first became President.

What we’re seeing is the weakest post-recession recovery in the Nation’s history. The employment numbers won’t get much better until one more person joins the unemployment line — and that’s the guy presently occupying the White House.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

Newsmax                                                                                 Boehner Plan Exposes GOP Rift on Border Crisis

By Todd Beamon

Conservatives slammed House Speaker John Boehner's plan for $1.5 billion to address the illegal immigration crisis on Wednesday, with some charging to Newsmax that Republicans should spend no additional taxpayer money and force President Barack Obama to rescind the 2012 executive order that they say ignited the crisis.

"This is a problem created by the DACA law," said Louisiana Rep. John Fleming. "The president did it by himself."

Fleming referred to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which delayed deportations to children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were young and who have remained here illegally.

"It's a huge PR disaster for him — and he can fix it by simply reversing what he did and by telling people that he is not going to give them amnesty," he said.

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, declared: "No border bailout, period."

"The first thing that needs to happen is for the president to stop sending signals to the rest of the world that if you get on our soil, you'll be able to stay on our soil," she said. "It doesn't cost any money to do that."

Boehner's $1.5 billion proposal slashes by more than half the $3.7 billion President Obama requested this month in emergency aid to address the deluge of illegal immigrant minors who have been arrested crossing the border in South Texas.

The speaker warned that the figure was the maximum amount that the GOP-controlled House would support — and even that could be cut because many Republicans will not agree to more spending on the issue.

"What the president's asking for is a blank check," Boehner said. "Without trying to fix the problem, I don't know how we actually are in position to give the president any more money."

Boehner's proposal laid bare a growing rift among House Republicans over immigration, further stalling action before Congress begins its five-week summer break on Aug. 1. Later Wednesday, the Ohio Republican sent a letter to Obama calling on him to publicly reiterate his earlier support for changing DACA.

Underscoring further problems with President Obama's request, House Democrats pledged on Tuesday to slash $1 billion and to include $225 million to help Israel battle Hamas militants in Gaza and $615 million to fight raging wildfires in the West.

More than 57,000 illegal minors have been arrested at the South Texas border after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico since Oct. 1. Most of the children are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The Obama administration has now estimated that as many as 90,000 are expected to be apprehended by the end of September — and as many as 142,000 next year. By contrast, fewer than 40,000 illegal minors were caught at the border last year.

Israel...NO longer catering to those catering to her enemies
By: Diane Sori

As the world becomes a more dangerous place and as Obama jets off to yet another fundraiser, let me start by saying I really do NOT care how many 'so-called' Palestinians are killed in Israel's Operation Protective Edge...and why...because the 'so-called' Palestinians place NO value on human life...Israeli or otherwise.

Hiding their bombs and rocket launchers in residential areas, in schools, in hospitals, in all areas civilian, these barbaric stains on humanity do NOT care how many of even their own are killed as they use women, children, and the elderly as human shields.

And so Israel is doing what’s necessary to survive even as the Gaza death toll now tops 600 after two weeks of Israel kicking Hamas butt, while the U(seless) N(ations) in tandem with Israel's greatest enemy...Barack HUSSEIN Obama...pushes hard for yet another cease-fire that we all know Hamas will NEVER honor let alone agree to. And with Obama's bloviating mouthpiece John 'Swiftboat' Kerry now in Cairo, and with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also in Cairo, Hamas has already issued statements that they will NOT accept any unconditional cease-fire NO matter that Moon recently said it is his "hope and belief" that his emergency mission to the Middle East will lead to an end to the fighting between Hamas and Israel "in the very near future."

Like that will ever happen.

Now add in that Obama has promised Gaza...translating into promising Hamas... $47 million dollars in supposed humanitarian aid...humanitarian aid paid for with our tax payer dollars I might add...the situation for Israel has gone from bad to worse as Kerry...the 'wanna be' somebody whom Obama calculatingly put into the position of Secretary of State so as to deliberately accomplish nothing...has been told to tell both sides that Obama wants...Obama "immediate cessation of hostilities" as per the 2012 anything but a cease-fire.

Boy was that a cease-fire brokered in hell as Hamas and its cronies have continuously lobbed rockets into Israel almost on a daily basis since that supposed "immediate cessation of hostilities" took place two short years ago. And since when does America's 'enemy within' and Israel's 'enemy from afar' have a right to demand anything from Israel...or from any other country for that matter.

And adding to his bloviations that Obama has "serious concerns about the number of Palestinian deaths," what Kerry and his boss do NOT understand or understand but turn a blind eye to is the concept and meaning of collateral damage. Collateral damage...civilian casualties if you an integral part of war. Collateral damage is what ends what forces an enemy to their knees. Collateral damage turns the tide of war, and if you don't want collateral damage then don't go to is that simple. And if you don't want collateral damage if you do decide to go to war at least don't hide your weapons amongst the civilian population...and don't use civilians as human shields. Only cowards do that and for all their bravado Hamas and their ilk are NOTHING but sniveling cowards who hide behind the skirts...or should I say the burkas...of women and thrust children before them in battle... children who are forced to take the bullets for them.

Oh what a fine example of manhood these muslim bast*rds are NOT.

And so Hamas has, as expected, rejected the Egyptian ceasefire proposal that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Arab League, Israel, the EU, and the U.S. have accepted. Saying their rejection is based on the grounds that it does NOT meet their demands and their in the lifting of the Israeli blockade they (erroneously) say has kept the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza subjected to what they deem a cruel and life-destroying siege...thankfully new Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi supports Israel, thus making it clear that he is NOT buying into Hamas' claim that the cease-fire and ensuing aftermath would keep the status quo and NO more.

And I hate to tell Hamas...NO...I actually like to tell Hamas...that BiBi will NEVER agree to any demands made by them and rightly so for one cannot make deals with the devil...and Hamas and their ilk are as close to the devil as one can get. And with Israel now confirming that one of its soldiers is missing NO deal will ever be made, especially after Hamas supporters are the ones who killed the three Israeli teenagers just a few short weeks ago.

But as bad as things seem right now, heaven help Israel if Hillary ever became president for she will continue on in Obama's footsteps...for she, like him, sides with terrorists and against Israel, as witnessed by her calling the Jewish state an “occupying force in Palestine,” insinuating that Hamas is a group of rebels fighting for the noble cause of freedom. News flash...they are NOT.

Remember too that it's Hamas who NEVER stopped firing rockets into Israeli population centers NOT the other way around. And with Israel and Jordan living in peace with each other, and with Israel and Egypt forging a new relationship with each other, the timing of this newest altercation seems a bit too convenient as the world is manipulated...into looking at Israel as the aggressor, and into looking at Russia as the 'supposed' shooter in the downing of the Malaysian plane, and is forced to do so just as the clock ticks down and runs out on the six month deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran...more on that in few days from now.

So let's be clear here folks, when all the smoke is cleared away the bottom line remains that Israel must NOT make any more compromises with those out to wipe them off the map. There must be NO cease-fire until Gaza and Ramallah are either destroyed or brought to their knees in surrender or Israel will have to live through this hell again in a matter of a mere month's time, if NOT in a few hours or in a few days time.

And that Israel can NO longer afford to do.