Surprise! Dems plan “#WarOnWomen” offensive in response to #HobbyLobby ruling

Feminism

Sure didn’t see this one coming – /sarc.  Via The Hill:

Democrats want to lure Republicans into a fight over birth control with legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision that ObamaCare may not require certain businesses to include contraception in their employee health coverage.

At least three bills are being crafted in the House and Senate to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which the high court used as the basis for its ruling that the contraception mandate violated federal law.

Democrats are expected to introduce the measures prior to Congress’s August recess as part of an effort to recalibrate the party’s election-year messaging. Their hope is to turn out female voters by casting the court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby as a strike against reproductive rights.

“Last week’s decision reignited a conversation across the country reminding women once again that their access to healthcare has become a political issue, when it should be a basic right,” said Marcy Stech, national press secretary for EMILY’s List.

“It will drive women to the polls this November to vote for the women candidates who are on the right side of women’s access to basic healthcare.”

“This will be a huge motivator for women in the fall and a liability for Republican candidates up and down the map,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) spokesman Justin Barasky added.

Republican campaign officials say they’re not worried and challenged the idea that the court ruling can help individual Democrats who supported the healthcare law and are considered vulnerable next year.

[…]

At least three pieces of legislation being prepared by Democrats would help maintain access to free birth control for women affected by the court’s ruling, though staffers provided few details on Monday.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of the modern Democrat party when each election year they are reduced to trying to emotionally manipulate key voting blocs to try and motivate them to get to the ballot box and pull the lever for the party once again – and with misrepresentations and outright falsehoods to boot.   In fact, I can’t think of the last election cycle where they didn’t try to pull off some combination of the racism / sexism /classism / homophobia cards in order to “win over” voters.  

Hopefully this year, unlike previous years when one or more of the cards has successfully been played, the GOP will respond appropriately without falling into the predictable stereotype trap. I’m not  holding my breath – but will remain cautiously optimistic nevertheless.

Data flaws continue to plague #Obamacare enrollments

Obamacare

Obamacare – bad for your health, your wallet, your …

Via Fox News:

The Obama administration is struggling to resolve health insurance data discrepancies that could jeopardize coverage for millions, according to a watchdog report on the still-rocky implementation of ObamaCare.

Though the system’s troubles have faded from the headlines since the problem-plagued launch last October, a report from the inspector general of the Health and Human Services department provided the first independent look at widespread problems the government is having effectively fact-checking the information applicants are putting in the system when seeking insurance and subsidies.

According to the report, the administration was unable to resolve 2.6 million so-called “inconsistencies” out of a total of 2.9 million such problems from October through December, 2013.

The government needs to determine applicants’ eligibility in order to verify they can enroll and, in some cases, get government subsidies. Without that step, coverage could be jeopardized. And according to the report, those running the federal marketplace are having trouble resolving problems “even if applicants submitted appropriate documentation.”

“The Federal marketplace was generally incapable of resolving most inconsistencies,” the report said, claiming the government could not resolve 89 percent of the problems.

And of the roughly 330,000 cases that could be straightened out, the administration had only actually resolved about 10,000 during the period of the inspector general’s audit. That worked out to less than 1 percent of the total.

The report said that most of the problems dealt with citizenship and income information supplied by consumers that conflicted with what the federal government had on record.

The report said the government’s eligibility system was not fully functional.

“Not fully functional”? LOL – that’s understatement of the decade, and not just when it comes to Obamacare …

Pres. Obama vows to “fix” immigration problems “without Congress”

King Obama

Image via Salon.com

Wish I could say I was surprised by this:

President Obama vowed Monday to bypass Congress and pursue unilateral changes to the country’s immigration system, defying House Republicans who say his executive actions are part of the problem. 

The president, speaking in the Rose Garden, said he is forced to go it alone because the House has failed to act on a comprehensive overhaul. He said Speaker John Boehner informed him last week the House will not vote on an immigration bill this year. 

“America cannot wait forever for them to act,” Obama said. He said he’s launching a new effort to “fix as much of our immigration system as I can, on my own, without Congress.” 

The president’s announcement is sure to infuriate congressional Republicans. Obama is pushing for new executive actions in defiance of Boehner’s vow last week to pursue a lawsuit against the president over alleged executive overreach. Even before Monday’s announcement, Boehner and his colleagues alleged that the president has gone too far in making changes without Congress to immigration policy, the Affordable Care Act, environmental regulations and other issues. 

[…]

As for his conversation last week with the president, Boehner said he only told Obama what he’s been saying for months: that until the public and elected officials trust him to enforce the law, “it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue.” 

Obama, though, said he would still prefer to seek changes via Congress, and he’d continue to press the House to act. 

But for the time being, the president announced two steps. First, he’s directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to move “available resources” from the interior to the border to address security. Further, the president said he’s directed a team to “identify additional actions my administration can take on our own within my existing legal authorities to do what Congress refuses to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can.” 

The usual arguments about the President’s routine and disturbing tendencies to act unilaterally without Congressional approval apply, but there’s something else at play here as well – which you won’t see any op/eds written about in the New York Times. And it’s not rocket science:  Obama and Congressional Republicans are at constant odds because of the President’s – and Senator Harry Reid’s – failure to demonstrate leadership in compromising with the opposition.   We have a divided government.   The US House is controlled by Republicans.  The US Senate is controlled by Democrats.  The President and Reid continually demand that the House make all the concessions when it comes to key and critical legislation they want to pass, and if they don’t slide far enough to the left, they’re “obstructionists.” Well, what about Reid and Senate Democrats who refuse to “meet in the middle”?

Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both worked with Congresses that were largely hostile to their agendas but they still ultimately got things done, even if it wasn’t always (and it frequently wasn’t) exactly what they wanted.  Our current President can’t make that same claim – because he doesn’t know how to lead and never has.  For all that talk about “bridging the partisan divide” in 2008, he has little to show for it.  He can blame the House GOP all he wants to, but the truth of the matter is that Obama is not much for compromise nor disagreement, and he won’t let a little thing like Congress stand in his way.  What the President should really be doing when playing the “woe is me” blame game is looking straight into a mirror, because that’s where the lion’s share of the problem exists.

Liberal freak-out commences in the aftermath of #SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling

Panic button

I had a million things going on today so I wasn’t around much in the immediate aftermath of today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby case, but it was pretty predictable how the left would react if the court didn’t rule in favor of the Obama administration’s position on the so-called “birth control mandate.” Just to recap, the court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s position:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that certain “closely held” for-profit businesses can cite religious objections in order to opt out of a requirement in ObamaCare to provide free contraceptive coverage for their employees.

The 5-4 decision, in favor of arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby and one other company, marks the first time the court has ruled that for-profit businesses can cite religious views under federal law. It also is a blow to a provision of the Affordable Care Act which President Obama’s supporters touted heavily during the 2012 presidential campaign.

“Today is a great day for religious liberty,” Adele Keim, counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty which represented Hobby Lobby, told Fox News.

The ruling was one of two final rulings to come down on Monday, as the justices wrapped up their work for the session. The other reined in the ability of unions to collect dues from home health care workers.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion in the ObamaCare case, finding the contraceptive mandate in its current form “unlawful.” The court’s four liberal justices dissented.

In other words, it was a bad day all around (again) for liberals when it comes to Supreme Court verdicts. The first wave of bad news hit last Thursday with their rulings against President Obama’s recess appointments position as well as striking down the Massachusetts abortion clinic “buffer zone law” on First Amendment grounds.

Understandably, Thursday was bad enough but today’s “setbacks” for the left were too much for some to bear, and they lashed out in a big way.   Sean Davis at The Federalist blog compiled a tweet round-up (with responses) of some of the most ridiculous arguments coming from high profile Democrats in the aftermath of SCOTUS’ majority opinion on Hobby Lobby, while Twitchy Team took left-wing Twitter’s temperature earlier today after all was said and done and found more than a few folks, er, hot under the collar.

Probably the dumbest Tweet of the day was a quote from – surprise – Senator Harry Reid:


Because only five (liberal) female Supreme Court justices would be able to “correctly” interpret the US Constitution in cases involving “women’s rights”, right? *insert eye roll here*

Open Thread: #SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling

SCOTUS

The interior of the United States Supreme Court.

As I noted yesterday, the Supreme Court is expected to announce today their verdict in the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case, which pits the family-owned company against the Obama administration’s Obamacare “birth control mandate.” The Hill provides a preview of what’s ahead:

The boundaries of religious freedom hang in the balance as the Supreme Court prepares to close out its term with a decision on the Affordable Care Act’s “birth control mandate.”

Monday’s ruling, the most closely watched of the season, decides round two for ObamaCare at the high court, and will be the second time that the justices will close their term with a ruling on President Obama’s signature law.

The stakes are high. A ruling against the administration could undermine the statute’s provision requiring companies to offer contraceptive services to workers as part of their insurance coverage.

It would peel away a significant portion of the mandate, potentially affecting preventive health coverage for millions of women, the government and backers of the law say.

Perhaps even more important, they contend, are the ramifications of a finding that corporations could be exempt from federal statutes on grounds that they have religious objections.

“This really is about whether or not employers based on religious views can pick and choose which federal laws to follow and not follow,” Kathleen Sebelius, who guided the law’s rollout through rough political waters during her turbulent tenure as Obama’s health secretary, said Friday.

Critics of the provision are on equally sharp tenterhooks in advance of the ruling, which will strike at the very root of the Constitution’s First Amendment.

The consolidated case, generally known as Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, centers on challenges to the contraception mandate brought by a pair of companies: the Hobby Lobby craft store chain and Conestoga Woods Specialties, a Pennsylvania-based cabinetmaker.

The firms and like-minded critics of the mandate say it violates both the First Amendment’s free exercise clause and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which provides that, “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”

That statue trumps the contraception rule, argues Noel J. Francisco, a partner at Jones Day, who has represented business interests before the Supreme Court and chairs the firm’s government regulations practice.

“That regulation, like all regulations is subordinate to RFRA, which is a law,” he said, asserting that Congress approved the measure “to protect against this kind of thing.”

10 a.m. ET today is when we’ll find out. Please make sure to check SCOTUSblog’s live blog of proceedings as well as their Twitter feed in order to stay updated on the latest news regarding the high court’s ruling on this case. And no doubt all the major 24 hour news networks like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC will be providing news and analysis of today’s verdict in real-time.  Also, please feel free to use this as an open thread to express your opinion on both the ruling and its implications going forward.

#SCOTUS verdicts in Hobby Lobby, union fees cases to be announced Monday

SCOTUS

The interior of the United States Supreme Court.

The Associated Press reports that Supreme Court is preparing to release verdicts tomorrow in two more key cases, most notably the one involving Hobby Lobby versus Obamacare:

The Supreme Court is poised to deliver its verdict in a case that weighs the religious rights of employers and the right of women to the birth control of their choice.

The court meets for a final time Monday to release decisions in its two remaining cases before the justices take off for the summer. The cases involve birth control coverage under President Obama’s health law and fees paid to labor unions representing government employees by workers who object to being affiliated with a union.

Two years after Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama’s campaign for re-election, the justices are considering a sliver of the law.

Employers must cover contraception for women at no extra charge among a range of preventive benefits in employee health plans. Dozens of companies, including the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, claim religious objections to covering some or all contraceptives. The methods and devices at issue before the Supreme Court are those that Hobby Lobby and furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. say can work after conception, the emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella, as well as intrauterine devices, which can cost up to $1,000.

The Obama administration says insurance coverage for birth control is important to women’s health and reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies, as well as abortions.

[…]

The other unresolved case has been hanging around since late January, often a sign that the outcome is especially contentious.

Home health care workers in Illinois want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who aren’t union members. The idea behind compulsory fees for nonmembers is that the union negotiates the contract for all workers, so they all should share in the cost of that work.

The court has been hostile to labor unions in recent years. If that trend continues Monday, the justices could confine their ruling to home health workers or they could strike a big blow against unions more generally.

The opinions on these cases should be revealed Monday at 10 a.m. ET. Make sure to tune in to SCOTUSblog’s live blog of proceedings as well as their Twitter feed to stay updated on the latest developments.  

Liberals were not pleased with last week’s verdicts on the issue of Obama’s recess appointments as well as their strike-down of the “buffer zones” law in Massachusetts that essentially limited the free speech of pro-life advocates.  Let’s hope the trend continues.

Did Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) threaten a presidential coup d’etat?

**Posted by Phineas

Hypocrite

Lackey

The topic was immigration, both the current crisis at the border and the Democrats’ desperate desire to have the House pass the comprehensive amnesty bill already approved in the Senate. You can read the whole thing at PJM, but I think the senior senator at Illinois might want to walk this part back:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) piled on. Noting that a year has passed since the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with broad bipartisan support, he urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a similar bill to the floor.

“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”

“Borrow the power,” Dick? Pray, under what authority would the president, to whom the Constitution assigns no lawmaking power (that’s your job, Dickie-boy), “borrow” the power to “solve the problem,” that is, to make law? What you mean is that he would unilaterally seize the power and abuse his administrative authority and prosecutorial discretion (even more than he already has) to create a new immigration reality (and millions of new Democratic voters, you hope) by fiat. By ukase. By his will, alone.

You call it “borrowing power,” Dick.

A rational person, on the other hand, and not some fawning courtier of a liberal fascist, calls it what it is: dictatorship.

Resign, Dick. You’re a disgrace to your oath of office.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Obamacare: Employees at failed Cover Oregon exchange receiving $650K in bonuses

**Posted by Phineas

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

And yet Oregon might well reelect Governor Kitzhaber, whose responsibility this fiasco is?

How do I get a job where I’m paid a bonus for maintaining something that doesn’t work? Given that the DOA Cover Oregon web site cost the taxpayers around $200,000,000 and that it’s estimated another $40,000,000 will be needed to transition to the federal exchange, one would think pitchforks and torches would be more in order.

via David Freddoso

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Rick Perry to Obama: Come visit the Texas/Mexico border, Mr. President

TX Gov. Rick Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Not one to mince words, Texas Governor Rick Perry today issued a written invite to President Obama to come take a look at the Texas/Mexico border himself to see how bad the illegal immigrant influx has become, especially in recent weeks:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is inviting President Obama to visit the U.S.-Mexico border, saying he needs “to see firsthand” the humanitarian crisis from an influx of illegal migrants.

In a letter sent to the White House on Friday, Perry called the president to Texas to survey the areas where tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have illegally crossed the border.

Perry also asked Obama to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, authorize the use of Predator drones for surveillance flights, and direct the Centers for Disease Control to survey facilities where detained children are being held. 

“There is no doubt that I have disagreed with you and your administration on many policies over the years,” Perry wrote. “This crisis, however, transcends any political differences we may have.

“The safety and security of our border communities is being threatened by this flood of illegal immigration, and the crisis worsens by the day,” he added.

Perry also called on Obama to “modify or rescind policies that serve as a magnet to encourage illegal immigration,” in particular the so-called catch-and-release program. That program releases illegal immigrants into relatives’ care and orders them to appear at a later date for deportation proceedings.

“The complex situation along the border is deteriorating, and it requires a multifaceted approach to resolve, and must begin with border security,” Perry wrote.

Earlier Friday, the White House announced it would send tens of millions of dollars to Central American countries to help them improve security and repatriate immigrants who had attempted to enter the U.S.

How many want to bet that this emerging humanitarian crisis comes as a direct result of the Obama administration’s astonishingly naive and politically motivated executive actions that have relaxed immigration rules and regulations over the last few years? It’s something even they seem to be acknowledging indirectly, if this report from the New York Times is any indication.  

Make sure to read Hot Air’s Noah Rothman for much more on this developing story.  And pray for those children a safe return home, no matter what you think on the issue of illegal immigration. 

It begins: The words you ‘can & can’t’ use when discussing Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden

Just as the case was in 2008, a growing list of Words/Things You Can’t Say When Discussing Hillary Clinton is emerging in time for her ongoing preparations for her to make the official announcement about her second run for the presidency. Good job getting the documentation rolling, Ashe Schow:

Oh dear, someone called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “feisty” and now ThinkProgress is out crying sexism.

CNN host Christiane Amanpour – a woman, if you didn’t know – said that Clinton “got quite feisty” during her interview Tuesday with Diane Sawyer – another woman (just making that absolutely clear). Wolf Blitzer – who is not a woman – agreed, and also said the word “feisty.”

This sent ThinkProgress into a tizzy (wait, is that sexist?) and allowed the liberal website to bring up a 2012 “guide” from the Women’s Media Center that details more than 100 words and phrases that are apparently sexist.

Feisty is one of them. How is feisty sexist? Well, the WMC claims the word is “normally reserved for individuals and animals that are not inherently potent or powerful.”

[…]

Other words that are apparently sexist include “aggressive,” “brunette,” “childcare” and “complain.” Even “politically correct” is apparently no longer politically correct.

And don’t forget, we’re also not supposed to talk about La Clinton’s fashion choices or hairdos … unless the purpose is to praise all of the above in the spirit of how her “look” gives off the appearance of power (for example: wearing “power red”).  From a piece I wrote in 2007 on the “controversy” surrounding a fashion column the WaPo published about Mrs. Clinton showing some, er, cleavage on the floor of the US Senate:

As a woman, and knowing many women, I can tell you from first hand experience that when professional women dress, nine times out of ten they’re dressing to impress, I don’t care where they’re working. They also expect to get noticed for how ‘sharp’ and/or ‘stylish’ they’re dressed and, shocker of all shockers, they actually like to receive compliments for what they wear. Now I can guarantee you that if Givhan’s column had been more flattering about the way Hillary dresses, i.e., if she was wearing red, how the color and style she was wearing was a symbol for power, or if it was along the lines of “Hillary is showing some cleavage and leg in a Congress that traditionally shies away from overt displays of skin. You go girl! Break down those walls!” the reactions to that column would have been totally different – especially amongst the liberal women responding to what was written. The fact that it wasn’t a very flattering piece on Hillary’s attire and what it displayed was where Givhan erred – not that she wrote about cleavage per se.

In any event, feel free to add to the list of things you can and can’t say when discussing She Who Wants to be President  in the comments! Can’t wait. #popcorn