Archive for the ‘Obama’s Heritage’ Category
Yes, General Motors really is giving $600 million to an English soccer club. Actually, as the team involved, Manchester United, is the most valuable team in sports, an investment in the club wouldn’t be a bad idea, considering how everything else is going at General Motors. No, the $600 million GM is giving to Man United over the next 7 years is a sponsorship deal. In return, Man United will wear “Chevrolet” on their jerseys and GM will be able to call itself Man United’s “global automobile partner.” It will immediately have the edge with all those consumers who look to their favorite soccer club for car buying advice.
Manchester United Owner – Malcolm Glazer – is a large Barak Obama contributor. Strange how Obama’s money people get rewarded. Dirty, Dirty, Dirty
There is a very good reason government shouldn’t bailout failing companies with buckets of taxpayer money. The money simply allows them to keep on making the disastrous decisions that got them to be a failing company in the first place. At least straight-up bankruptcy would have probably rooted out the kind of people who would think spending $60-70 million a year to have your logo on a soccer jersey was a swell idea.
The other problem with people whose pockets have been lined with lots of taxpayer cash is that they will overspend on their crazy ideas. Man United’s current sponsor, AON, an insurance company was spending around $30 million a year to have their logo on the players’ jerseys. So, they are throwing around twice the cash to advertise a brand that has almost no sales in Britain.
William, Paul and James Newland and their sister, Christine Ketterhagen, who together own Hercules Industries, have no right to conduct their family business in a manner that comports with their Catholic faith.
The federal government can and will compel them to either surrender their business or to engage in activities the Catholic faith teaches are intrinsically immoral.
This is exactly what President Barack Obama’s Justice Department told a U.S. district court in a formal filing last week.
Never before has an administration taken such a bold step to strip Americans of the freedom of conscience — a right for which, over the centuries, many Christian martyrs have laid down their lives, and which our Founding Fathers took great care to protect in a First Amendment that expressly guarantees the free exercise of religion.
As the Founders understood, no government has legitimate authority to take this right away, because it does not come from government. It comes from God. The very purpose of government is to protect this right. A government that seeks to strip it away from the people is by that very process stripping away its own legitimacy.
What we are seeing from the Obama administration today — in its attack on religious liberty — is simply evil. When government seeks to compel individuals to act against their consciences and to engage in activities that, if willfully done, would imperil their immortal souls, there is no other word for it.
The Newland family owns and operates Hercules Industries, a Colorado-based corporation that manufactures heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. Through their hard work and dedication, and through their willingness to reinvest their own money in building their family business, they have managed to create jobs for 265 people while exerting a positive influence on the communities they serve.
The Newlands believe the morality the Catholic faith teaches them must animate their lives not only within the walls of the churches they attend, but literally everywhere else, as well — in the way they deal with their families, their neighbors and, yes, their business.
The Newlands sued to protect their free exercise of religion in this regard because Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a regulation, under the Obamacare law, that requires virtually all health care plans to cover — without cost-sharing — sterilizations, artificial contraception and abortifacients.
Under Obamacare, businesses that employ more than 50 people must provide their employees with insurance or pay a penalty, and the required insurance must include the mandated cost-sharing-free coverage for sterilizations, artificial contraception and abortifacients.
At Hercules Industries, the Newlands provide a generous self-insured health-care plan to their employees.
It does not cover sterilization, artificial contraception or abortifacients.
“The Catholic Church teaches that abortifacient drugs, contraception and sterilization are intrinsic evils,” says the Newlands’ lawsuit.
“Consequently, the Newlands believe that it would be immoral and sinful for them to intentionally participate in, pay for, facilitate or otherwise support abortifacient drugs, contraception, sterilization, and related education and counseling as would be required by the Mandate, through their inclusion in health insurance coverage they offer at Hercules,” says the suit.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States endorse this view. At a meeting in Atlanta last month, they unanimously adopted a resolution calling the HHS regulation an “unjust and illegal mandate” and a “violation of personal civil rights.” They declared that the regulation created a class of Americans “with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values.
“They, too,” said the bishops, “face a government mandate to aid in providing ‘services’ contrary to those values — whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves — without even the semblance of an exemption.”
In a letter read during Sunday Mass in most dioceses around the country earlier this year, many of the nation’s bishops flatly said: “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law.”
In response to the Newlands’ complaint that ordering them to violate the teachings of the Catholic Church in the way they run their business is a violation of their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, the Obama administration told the federal court that a private business has no protection under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause — especially if the business is incorporated.
“The First Amendment Complaint does not allege that the company is affiliated with a formally religious entity such as a church,” said the Justice Department. “Nor does it allege that the company employs persons of a particular faith. In short, Hercules Industries is plainly a for-profit, secular employer.”
“By definition,” said the Justice Department, “a secular employer does not engage in any ‘exercise of religion.’”
“It is well established that a corporation and its owners are wholly separate entities, and the Court should not permit the Newlands to eliminate that legal separation to impose their personal religious beliefs on the corporate entity or its employees,” said the Justice Department.
This is just as if the Justice Department were to tell a family owned newspaper that it must publish editorials calling for a confiscatory estate tax, basing its coercion of the newspaper on the supposition (which lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom argue DOJ is by analogy making) that as a for-profit secular and incorporated employer, the paper has no First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Through his Media Matters organization, Soros is dumping pro-UN gun control propaganda into the mainstream media to coincide with the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty being held in New York July 2–27.
In a blog post published on July 3, Timothy Johnson of Media Matters describes the notion that the United Nations would ever try to take away the right of Americans to keep and bear arms “laughable.”
Johnson goes on to promote the passage of the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) as a means of “curtailing the illicit arms trade” and thus cracking down on those who use these weapons to deny others their “human rights.”
The blog post assures citizens concerned about the potential eradication of the rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment to the Constitution that they have nothing to fear from the UN’s gun control treaty.
Top officials from the United Nations, the United States, and other high profile supporters have repeatedly and clearly said that the treaty does not aim to restrict anyone’s “freedom to own” a gun. Indeed, the UN General Assembly’s resolution on the treaty makes clear that countries will “exclusively” maintain the right within their borders to “regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownerships.”
Constitutionalists will instantly notice a couple of red flags raised by Media Matters’ word choice.
First, there need be no quotation marks around the phrase freedom to own a gun. Americans should enjoy the unqualified right to bear arms and it is not some antiquated idea or some unicorn-like mythical creature that requires special punctuational treatment. Americans are well aware that an unarmed citizenry is easier to subdue and will rightly resist all efforts to abridge that right.
Second, the citizens of the United States do not need the permission of the United Nations to maintain the “exclusive” right to own a gun. This right, as with all others protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, comes from God, not man, and may be neither given nor taken away by any government.
Undaunted, however, Soros will continue to use his mouthpieces to promote the globalist agenda, including the incremental dismantling of the U.S. Constitution and the sovereignty it protects.
The current draft of the ATT mandates that the governments of member states petition the United Nations for approval of any contract to sell weapons to any nation where there exists a “substantial risk of a serious violation” of human rights.
While the end of reducing the abuse of human rights is laudable, the means to achieve that cannot lawfully include the requirement that the Congress of the United States ask for permission from the UN overlords before it passes a law, including one authorizing the sale of arms to another country. That is a direct assault on American legislative sovereignty, and an indirect attack on the sovereignty of the American people who elect the members of Congress who vote on such measures.
In the text of the ATT, the United Nations specifically calls for the passage of a legally binding instrument that will impose international standards for the ownership, trade, and transfer of weapons.
In another section the ATT includes “controls on a comprehensive list of weaponry, including small arms and light weapons.” Predictably, all these controls are couched comfortably in talk of “human rights” and ending senseless killings by rogue regimes.
In order to avoid being labeled a “human rights abuser,” the United States (along with all member states) is ordered by the UN to comply with the ATT. To compel this compliance, the ATT empowers the UN to force Congress to:
• Enact internationally agreed licensing requirements for Americans
• Confiscate and destroy unauthorized firearms of Americans while allowing the U.S. government to keep theirs
• Ban the trade, sale, and private ownership of semi-automatic guns
• Create and mandate an international registry to organize an encompassing gun confiscation in America
On this point, in 2011, the UN’s General Assembly declared “that disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation are essential.” In other words, if world peace, the protection of human rights, and the disarming of violent regimes could be achieved through the confiscation of personal firearms, then so be it.
Make no mistake, however, Soros and his fellow globalist gun controllers don’t have in mind (at least at first) to march blue-helmeted UN soldiers into the homes of Americans with orders to seize their guns and ammunition. Rather, through the passage of binding international treaties and UN resolutions, they will force the national governments of the world to do the dirty work for them.
Sadly, officials of our own federal government, including President Obama, are pushing Congress to sign off on this treaty.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the Obama administration is working with the UN to lean on Congress to consent to the ATT.
Clinton has pushed the treaty as an “opportunity to promote the same high standards for the entire international community that the United States and other responsible arms exporters already have in place to ensure that weaponry is transferred for legitimate purposes.”
There is little doubt that the scope of those “legitimate purposes” will be determined by Soros, Clinton, Obama, and the rest of the globalist gang who have much to fear from an armed and educated citizenry.
For now, the resistance to ratification of such a treaty is strong in the United States. Last July Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and 44 other senators sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Clinton encouraging them to stop pushing for passage of UN gun control treaties. In the letter, Moran wrote:
Our country’s sovereignty and the Second Amendment rights of American citizens must not be infringed upon by the United Nations. Today, the Senate sends a powerful message to the Obama Administration: an Arms Trade Treaty that does not protect ownership of civilian firearms will fail in the Senate. Our firearm freedoms are not negotiable.
George Soros, through his Media Matters outlet, promises that “U.S. gun owners have nothing to fear” from the ATT or from similar UN agreements to restrict the manufacture, transfer, and possession of firearms. The globalists’ only goal, they maintain, is “the maintenance of international peace and security.”
For those whose fears are assuaged by such gentle words, we offer this competing comment from Benjamin Franklin written in a letter penned in 1755: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
A brigade will deploy to Africa next year in a pilot program that assigns brigades on a rotational basis to regions around the globe, the Army announced in May.
Roughly 3,000 soldiers — and likely more — are expected to serve tours across the continent in 2013, training foreign militaries and aiding locals.
As part of a “regionally aligned force concept,” soldiers will live and work among Africans in safe communities approved by the U.S. government, said Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, head of U.S. Army Africa.
Tours could last a few weeks or months and include multiple missions at different locations, he said.
The Army has not announced which brigade would deploy or where the soldiers would come from.
As the Afghanistan war winds down, the new readiness model affords Army units more time to learn regional cultures and languages and train for specific threats and missions.
Africa, in particular, has emerged as a greater priority for the U.S. government because terrorist groups there have become an increasing threat to U.S. and regional security.
Though U.S. soldiers have operated in Africa for decades, including more than 1,200 soldiers currently stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the region in many ways remains the Army’s last frontier.
“As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory,” Hogg said from his headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.
But “I’m not there to win their wars or settle their differences,” he added.
Instead, with more soldiers, U.S. Army Africa will continue to strengthen ties with regional militaries and governments by teaching military tactics, medicine and logistics, as well as combating famine, disease and terrorism in secure environments. The Army currently allows conventional soldiers to enter only 46 of the 54 African states due to security risks.
The State Department and U.S. special operations commands handle activities in the other countries, including those amid conflict.
Active-duty soldiers, guardsmen and reservists have helped quell regional violence, assist sick and injured Africans and feed the famished in East Africa.
During a recent annual training exercise, U.S. soldiers taught Ugandan forces how to deliver supplies by air to comrades in the bush chasing rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia accused of atrocities in central Africa.
Through State Department initiatives, soldiers have also trained African troops headed for peacekeeping missions in Somalia on convoy security and countering improvised explosive devices.
On medical missions, Army doctors have replaced eye lenses of cataract patients in Malawi and Zanzibar, who danced and beamed after seeing, in some cases for the first time. Medical soldiers have also handed out mosquito nets to protect locals from malaria, the No. 1 killer in Africa, Hogg said.
Army chaplains teach Africans in classes about dealing with post-traumatic stress and running family readiness groups.
A brigade combat team has the capability to satisfy more than two-thirds of these missions in Africa. The rest will require skilled specialists — mechanics and logisticians — from the National Guard and Army Reserve, Hogg said.
Each week, U.S. Army Africa operations personally affect 300 to 400 locals, he said.
“I’ve seen some of these missions where the battalion commander down there could probably run for governor,” he said. “That’s how close of a relationship they have with some of their counterparts, both on the military side and with the local civilian community.
“It gets out the indirect approach [toward] some of these violent, extremist organizations that will talk bad about the Americans and the U.S,” he said. “It leaves behind a lasting effect over time.”
From African forces, U.S. soldiers have picked up real-world lessons about tropical diseases, international cultures and foreign military tactics.
In the future, U.S. soldiers might also attend military courses in Africa, such as the French desert survival school in Djibouti and African jungle schools in Ghana and Gabon.
Still, the Army has no plans to construct permanent bases across the continent, and the mission does have its limits, Hogg said.
“For all the challenges that happen and sprout up across Africa, it really comes down to, it has to be an African solution. We are here to enable, where wanted, the African forces to figure out and solve their own problems,” said Hogg, who has visited more than 20 countries.
“We are not trying to reproduce the United States Army in the 54 countries in Africa,” he said.
By Howard J. Warner
In 2009, as the health care reform legislation made its way through the Congress, many on both sides argued for their respective positions. (I wrote an article discussing some of the issues which appeared in the American Thinker in November 2009.) The legislation eventually was passed and signed by President Obama in March 2010. As of this writing, the Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of this legislation. Again, both sides are arguing the eventual outcome. But what does this fight say about the American society and Constitution established over 200 years ago?
Proponents of the federal law feel that the health care system is broken because it does not guarantee equal care to all residents. They see this legislation as helping to ensure a more equitable distribution of health care, an extension of fairness in the greater society. This is the daily cry of the president and his supporters. Whether one agrees with this aim or not, it is commendable. The question for the Court is whether the legislation meets the requirements under the Constitution. Clearly, the opposition feel that it does not; they also oppose the remedy that emerged on philosophical grounds.
The media continues to point to the question of a mandate underlying the legislation. Some point to the mandate embedded within the health care reform passed in Massachusetts while Mitt Romney was governor. This issue underlies the argument about his worthiness to become the Republican nominee for president. The president promised the American people better-quality health care for more residents at a lower cost when he was a candidate in 2008. Unfortunately, the result has not materialized. Premiums are rising faster because of the cost to provide coverage for previously uninsured people. The Congressional Budget Office has recently announced that its estimates for the federal cost have doubled from over $900 billion over ten years to $1.7 trillion. Undoubtedly, the costs will continue to rise. But will we be able to maintain the level of care that our privately financed system has provided?
Clearly, it is important to understand the issues related to the Court case. However, there are other issues not mentioned publicly. Did the process used to pass the legislation violate the Constitution or congressional procedures? The Constitution requires bills of revenue to arise in the House before they can proceed. The procedure of reconciliation, which does not allow for filibusters in the Senate, is used to pass budget bills. This legislation may have had budget impact, but it was beyond this in scope. In the end, the Senate bill was used as the basis for the final bill without any conference compromise. Final approval required some slight corrections through the reconciliation process. This is troubling, as was the often repeated quotation by Speaker Pelosi that we would know what is in the bill after it was passed. So much for openness and transparency so often promised to the American people by the president.
The issue mentioned by opponents of Mitt Romney concerns another constitutional question. We may disagree on whether a mandate is acceptable. However, we should not confuse the federal government imposing this mandate with a state under the Tenth Amendment exercising this right. The so-called “RomneyCare,” which is only 70 pages long, should not be equated with the 2,500-page “ObamaCare,” which imposes many other requirements over the entire populace. Massachusetts as a liberal state desired this legislation. Clearly, the costs have soared, and one can question the value of the law, but the issues are not identical. At the time, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative organization, had supported an individual mandate as way to cover more uninsured people. They have since changed their position. At the time, liberals did not like this approach, favoring a single-federal-payer approach. Of course, now liberals have accepted this method; it may get the country to a single-payer eventually.
In 1936, the Court was given the issue of Social Security to rule on its constitutionality. They decided that it did not violate the Constitution, as the legislation was structured as a tax following the authority under the 16th Amendment. Although the public thought they were getting a pension plan, the Court did not rule in this manner. President Obama spoke of a penalty for not having insurance to avoid the impression that he was raising taxes during a severe recession in 2009 and 2010. However, it is hard to avoid the fact that the penalty occurs only if one has not purchased insurance — a fact which Justice Breyer tried to elucidate during Monday’s oral arguments. Finally on the issue of mandates, how does the commerce clause allow regulation of a product or service if it has not been purchased? Where is commerce without a purchase? Or to put it a different way, does the Constitution allow the Congress to force anyone to buy anything? (Will the government tell me which toothpaste to buy?) Would the Founders recognize this requirement or ever support it under limited government?
Health care throughout the world is subject to scarcity. In countries with socialized care, services may be limited by government panels, the cost of delivery, and availability of equipment and services, with age restrictions on certain procedures, and increasing use of private health insurance, as a solution to this scarcity. Health care in the USA is highly specialized, uses high technology, and is plentiful. This is expensive, results in shorter waiting times for services, and has resulted in higher costs than in other industrialized nations. Already, some are questioning whether former Vice President Cheney should have received a heart transplant since he is 71 years old. Scarcity in America is more often related to cost for the individual. Some argue that that it is not fair, but should all care be equal? Do persons living in smaller communities have fewer choices?
There is some concern about financing the health care system. In the reform legislation, changes are made to Medicare reimbursement rates to save money. As more cost pressure upon the system mounts, further cuts in services will be required. As the federal requirements increase through regulatory decree from the Health and Human Services secretary, as part of the bill, more private employers will choose to eliminate their plans and pay the penalty. This will put pressure on private insurance companies to increase rates, further eroding participant numbers. The recent decision to force religiously affiliated institution to offer contraceptive services is a clear example that threatens private-sector participation. This issue also threatens the privileges under the First Amendment.
The Court will also have to decide whether the mandate or the entire bill must be eliminated. In their zeal to pass the legislation when the Democrats had a filibuster-proof Senate, they did not bother to insert a severability clause. However, the death of Senator Kennedy resulted in the election of Senator Brown (R) in Massachusetts, who campaigned against the reform bill. This was the cause of the procedural gimmicks employed as previously mentioned. Severability clauses allow the remaining legislation to survive if any portion is found unconstitutional.
This case is quite unusual. The Court has allowed five and a half hours for oral arguments. They expedited the review process — a rare occurrence. They heard arguments concerning the standing of the case since the penalty (tax) has not kicked in yet (which is an issue due to previous legislation). In the end, this may be a seminal decision affecting the growth of governmental power or its restriction. Stay tuned for the results.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/03/health_care_reform_legislation_revisited.html#ixzz1qnFyyOox