Daily Digest for Tuesday
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
More Bad News for ObamaCare Costs
The White House boasted this week that one out of four Americans now enrolled in ObamaCare are aged 18-34 (assuming they're paid up). That's great except ObamaCare depends on 39% of enrollees being young and healthy to make the system appear to work. Unless that mix dramatically improves by the March 31 deadline, premiums will go up even further to make up the difference. In related news, the CBO estimates that ObamaCare's caps on insurance-borne claims and bailouts for insurance losses will mean a transfer of $1.071 trillion from taxpayers to insurance companies over the next decade. Not to mention 79% of enrollees are currently getting subsidies. And Democrats had the audacity to call it the "Affordable" Care Act.
FBI Finally Contacts Tea Party
In May 2013, IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner admitted that the powerful tax agency was targeting the Tea Party -- political opponents of Barack Obama -- in the lead-up to the 2012 election. The Obama Justice Department promised to do their best (wink, wink) to get to the bottom of it, so, of course, they hired an Obama donor to investigate. The latest is that the FBI just last week -- seven months after the supposed start of the investigation -- actually contacted a few of the affected Tea Party groups. On top of that, the FBI says it doesn't plan to file criminal charges over the scandal. It's no surprise that the Justice Department's finding is essentially "nothing to see here; move along."
Gas Pump Alarmism
We'll give eco-fascists credit for one thing -- a strong devotion to hyperbole. By their logic, no atmospheric event exists that's not somehow a result of global warming. And no evidence to the contrary will prevent even more extreme alarmism. In San Francisco, the environmental group 350.org is now demanding labels be posted on gasoline pumps that warn Americans of the danger presented by "dirty oil." Citing the popular talking point that "we're not going to feel the effects until well into the future," group member Jamie Brooks claims, "The goal isn't to take transportation away from people and say, 'You're a bad person.'" Instead, "The goal is to create a signal saying, 'You need to change your behavior.'" Unsurprisingly, Brooks didn't bother to offer a practical alternative. On the other hand, we'll be glad to offer them a horse and carriage to aid in distributing the stickers.
Hillary Wins Last Place
Hillary Clinton, one of the most adored faces of progressivism and feminism on the Left, may be gearing up for another presidential run, but she's got some serious catching up to do with the majority of other popular figures. The Times of London in a new poll found that Clinton took last place among the top 10 individuals most admired by Americans, and near last in the world survey, coming in at #27 out of 30. Most notably, among Americans, the former state secretary is preceded by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh (#9) and former president George W. Bush (#4). [Source.]
The Pope Is Catholic
Pope Francis continues to confound those on the Left, who were all too thrilled to hear his critique of capitalism and his concern for the poor. "Hey," they thought, "this guy's one of us!" Contrary to popular Leftmedia belief, however, the pope is Catholic. For example, speaking on the subject of abortion, Francis called the practice "horrific" because "there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day." Reuters headlined, "Pope, in nod to conservatives, calls abortion 'horrific.'" His position is not new and it's not a "nod." It's an age-old belief held by Christians (and others) of all stripes that life is sacred. But that's news to Reuters.
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Obama's Recess Appointments Under Scrutiny
Monday once again saw a significant Supreme Court case -- Noel Canning v. NLRB -- and it centers on the legality of Barack Obama's "recess" appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The Constitution gives the president the power to appoint federal judges and officers with the "advice and consent" of the Senate with one exception -- that the president "shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate." Those appointments then last for the duration of the current Senate session.
But taking the position that it is both judge and jury, the administration argues it has the power to decide for itself when the Senate is in recess for purposes of making recess appointments, making it irrelevant whether the Senate considers itself to be in session or not. Obama's expansive view of his own authority seems to include unlimited appointments power. George W. Bush never sought to make recess appointments during pro forma Senate sessions when the Senate technically gavels in and out to fulfill a constitutional requirement, but does not conduct any business. Obama's actions go to the heart of separation of powers.During oral arguments, leading originalist Justice Antonin Scalia went after U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who took the position that the Constitution's recess appointments clause is ambiguous enough to validate Obama's temporary appointments. "It's been assumed to be ambiguous by self-interested presidents," Scalia retorted. Scalia argued that the text of the Constitution does not permit presidents to appoint individuals to government agencies during pro forma sessions. He suggested the power ought to be restricted to official recesses. Indeed, based on the tone of arguments Monday, the vote may even be 9-0 against Obama.
Another Step 'Forward' for Iranian Deal
One of the sticking points in the recent deal -- indeed, the sticking point in any deal with the rogue nation -- is whether Iran can or cannot enrich uranium under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. As long as Iran is able to enrich uranium, it will always have a viable pathway to producing nuclear weapons in quantity.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi left no room for doubt on Iran's position: "We will in no way, never, dismantle our [nuclear] centrifuges." Muhammad Asafari, a senior member of Iran's Majlis (their legislative body), offered equally unhelpful remarks: "If the U.S. Congress approves any [more] sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, we [the Majlis] will accelerate the approval of a bill which requires the government to enrich uranium to the 60% grade." Another senior member of the Majlis, Mansouri Arani, couldn't resist a dig at arch-enemy Israel: "Today, the Zionist regime has suffered the greatest loss from these agreements, as its propaganda against Iran will be ineffective from now on." Although likely unintentional, Arani spoke the truth in this case as Israel's freedom of action will be limited while the Iran deal is in force.
Expect Iran to continue this kind of belligerent posturing during the six months the deal is in force, with the clock starting on Jan. 20. And if you think this sounds unhelpful to the diplomatic process, wait for what Iran says when it comes time to hammer out the follow-on deal that was, after all, the reason for the interim deal.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
OPINION IN BRIEF
Columnist Mona Charen: "There are limitless identities that students could be encouraged to cultivate as they mature. ... It's all done in the name of 'inclusion' and nondiscrimination, but let's face it, there's an element of fashion in it. Nontraditional sexual behavior is 'in.' ... It's more than a devaluation of the life of the mind; it's an assault on human dignity. We have elevated sexual appetites, especially unusual sexual tastes, to an exalted status, worthy of study, defining our natures and experiences, and outranking other traits in importance. ... [I]t is interesting that we are being asked to deny people the opportunity to change in only one direction. No one is suggesting that if a straight person wants to become gay and consults a therapist who wishes to help him make this transition, that he should be prevented from doing so. Yet children as young as 4 are being permitted to style their hair, wear the clothing and use the bathrooms of the other sex when they express the urge. This kind of change is one that liberal states approve."
Burt Prelutsky: "Dependent voters are dependable voters. That's why Obama and Harry Reid actually insist that unemployment insurance creates jobs. But they don't bother explaining why, that being the case, after five years, anyone is still jobless. They also don't explain why they are pushing for a mere three month extension of unemployment payments. Why not three years? Why not 30 years if it's such an enormous boon for the economy? Liberals insist that adding people to the dole is an act of kindness. If so, they're killing America, especially the vanishing middle class, with kindness. The reason, I believe, that democracy is so irrational is that it empowers the irrational, the illiterate, the slothful and the greedy."
The Gipper: "Inflation has one cause and one cause only: government spending more than government takes in. And the cure to inflation is a balanced budget. We know, of course, that after 40 years of social tinkering and Keynesian experimentation that we can't do this all at once, but it can be achieved. Balancing the budget is like protecting your virtue: you have to learn to say 'no.'"
Humorist Frank J. Fleming: "It would be refreshing one day to meet someone outraged with the substance of a scandal and not from political disagreement with the subject."
Comedian Argus Hamilton: "Governor Chris Christie held a two-hour news conference Thursday where he denied wrongdoing on the bridge closures. He fired people whose e-mails implicated them. He insisted that he's not a bully, and he threatened to beat up any reporter who says otherwise."
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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