to the web site of Lee Republican Women Federated! Thank you very much for visiting and we hope you find our web site informative and a place you will want to visit again. Lee Republican Women Federated (LRWF) is a member of the Florida Federation of Republican Women which was chartered in 1950 and a member of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) which was started in 1938. Our affiliation with both these groups allows us to say that we are part of a grassroots organization of over 100,000 women throughout the country who support Republican candidates and issues at all levels of government.
PLEASE NOTE: Our meeting venue has changed to The Edison Restaurant, Bar and Banquet Center, 3583 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33901.

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LRWF October Dinner Meeting

October 13, 2014 The LRWF October Dinner meeting will feature Dane Eagle, FL House of Representatives District 77, Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman, and Lee County School Board member Cathleen Morgan.  They will discuss both the state and local amendments and referendums on the ballot in the November 4th election.

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October 1st, 2014

Sick of paying too much at the pump?

If you are, there’s good news: There are policies Congress and the Obama administration could implement that likely would lead to lower prices.

If you’re looking to lower gas prices, first look at crude oil prices.

Crude oil contributes the largest component to the price of gasoline. As of June 2014, crude prices made up 67 percent of the price of gas, with refining (14 percent), taxes (12 percent), and retailing and transportation (8 percent) accounting for the rest, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The federal excise tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. States levy their own taxes, ranging from a low of 12.4 cents per gallon in Alaska to more than 52.6 cents per gallon in California.

Because oil is a globally traded commodity, different factors around the world affect supply and demand, which in turn affects the price Americans pay at the gas pump. Growing demand for oil in other parts of the world, especially in rapidly developing regions such as India and China, put upward pressure on prices. Bad weather or geopolitical risks can disrupt supply, increasing prices. For instance, severe weather can shut down a pipeline or refinery, choking supply and driving prices higher.

Additional U.S. oil production can significantly increase global spare capacity.

The most effective response to variations in energy prices is simply to allow markets to work. Government restrictions, regulations and attempts to force technologies into the market impede the free market’s efficacy. To help American fuel consumers, Congress and the administration should:

1. Lift the ban on crude oil exports. Removing government restrictions on crude oil exports would decrease gas prices and grow the American economy by creating more opportunities to produce and sell oil and a more efficient system for refining it. A recent IHS study found that removing the ban would lower gasoline prices by 8 cents per gallon, saving motorists $265 billion over 15 years and adding nearly 1 million jobs by 2018.

2. Lift the drilling bans and approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Congress should lift the ban on exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and should conduct more lease sales off Alaska’s coasts. Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is another abundant source of oil, with an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil beneath a few thousand acres. Furthermore, if President Barack Obama had approved the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline when the State Department first concluded the pipeline was environmentally safe, the U.S. would have begun importing up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries as early as 2013. While predicting the exact impact of increased imports of Canadian oil on gasoline prices is difficult, increased domestic production would clearly have substantially benefited the U.S. economy. According to Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions, aggressive domestic production would yield significant economic benefits and put downward pressure on prices.

3. Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). More commonly known as the ethanol mandate, the RFS mandates that refineries blend increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline each year, reaching 36 billion gallons in 2022. The Congressional Budget Office recently published a report showing the RFS will increase gas prices by 13 cents to 26 cents per gallon as soon as 2017. Multiple federal agency and government-backed studies demonstrate the RFS has harmed Americans, driving up fuel and food prices.

4. Prohibit greenhouse gas and Tier 3 regulations. The Department of the Interior has already suspended oil and gas leases because of their alleged impact on climate change, and refineries are a coming target of the Environmental Protection Agency. Its greenhouse gas regulations will block and increase the cost of energy production, and producers will pass those costs on to consumers. Yet the regulations will have no meaningful impact on the climate. The EPA also has finalized Tier 3 gas regulations to lower the amount of sulfur in gasoline, beginning in 2017. More stringent sulfur regulations could add 6 cents to 9 cents per gallon to the cost of manufacturing gasoline, and the EPA has acknowledged the more stringent regulation will produce no measurable improvement in air quality.

5. Repeal the Jones Act. Signed into law almost a century ago, the Jones Act mandates that any goods shipped by water between two points in the United States must be transported on a U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged vessel with a crew that is at least 75 percent American. By preventing foreign competition, the Jones Act significantly increases domestic maritime shipping prices, driving up costs for American businesses and consumers. A February 2014 International Energy Agency report estimates that repealing the Jones Act would reduce gasoline prices by 15 cents per gallon. The Jones Act creates an unnecessary and expensive hurdle for shipping crude oil from coast to coast, and Congress should repeal it.

High gas prices hurt consumers not only at the pump but also by raising the cost of all goods and services that depend on transportation. Higher prices mean families buy fewer goods and services, slowing economic growth and job creation. Congress should allow the market to determine prices by implementing free-market reforms to improve the market’s ability to respond.

Article from The Heritage Foundation

September 24th, 2014

If you use Facebook, pay taxes, enjoy fishing or drive a car, the 2014-2015 term of the Supreme Court, which begins Oct. 6, will be worth watching.

Many of the cases from the last term touched on issues such as executive power, religious liberty, free speech and racial preferences.

Here are highlights of the upcoming term:

1. Elonis v. United States: Aspiring rapper Anthony “Tone Dougie” Elonis was convicted of making criminal threats after posting rap lyrics on Facebook about killing his estranged wife. Did the government have to prove Tone Dougie intended to actually threaten his wife, or is it enough to show that a reasonable person would have viewed those Facebook posts as true threats?

2. Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads: Can Congress delegate regulatory authority to a private entity? This case involves a 2008 law that authorized Amtrak to co-author regulations governing the railroad industry. Amtrak is a unique creature—created by an act of Congress but run as a for-profit corporation. The Court will decide whether this delegation of regulatory authority was proper.

3. Heien v. North Carolina: Ignorance of the law is no excuse, or so the saying goes. Consistent with the Fourth Amendment, a police officer may make a traffic stop if he has a reasonable suspicion a law is being violated. But what happens if the officer makes a mistake about what the law requires?

4. Holt v. Hobbs: Can a state prison prohibit inmates from having beards? An inmate serving a life sentence in Arkansas argues he must maintain a beard to comply with his faith and notes that 39 other states and the District of Columbia allow inmates to grow beards of varying lengths. The Supreme Court will decide whether the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act protects this exercise of religion.

5. Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne: In Maryland, residents pay not only a state income tax, but also a county income tax. This case involves Maryland residents who are trying to avoid paying duplicative taxes for income earned out-of-state and already taxed by other states. But the Supreme Court previously ruled states can tax their residents seemingly without limits.

6. Yates v. United States: Does the federal white collar criminal law known as Sarbanes-Oxley cover “shredding” fish? In this case, a Fish and Wildlife officer issued a citation to John Yates for catching undersized red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico. Yates was instructed to return to port where the grouper were to be seized, but when he arrived, the officer counted fewer undersized fish and suspected Yates threw them overboard. Yates was convicted under Sarbanes-Oxley for destroying “tangible objects” with the intent to obstruct an investigation.

The Supreme Court has plenty of room on its 2014-2015 docket to add more cases, and it may do so following the “mega-conference” on Sept. 29. The justices may not be eager to jump back into the marriage debate—as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested during a talk at a law school last week—but it seems only a matter of time before the issue is back before the Court. Following the Court’s 2012 decision in United States v. Windsor, traditional marriage laws have fallen across the country. Parties from cases out of Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin already have petitioned the Court for review.

The justices also may hear a challenge to the IRS subsidizing health insurance purchased from federally-run Obamacare exchanges. Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code, enacted as part of Obamacare, allows the IRS to provide subsidies to individuals who buy health insurance through state-run exchanges, and the IRS claims it can extend this to individuals in the 27 states that chose not to open exchanges. Two appellate courts issued rulings within hours of each other that reached opposite conclusions about this IRS interpretation. Given the significant implications this may have for the practical implementation of the law, it looks like Obamacare may be heading back to the Court for a third time.

Article from The Heritage Foundation

September 16th, 2014

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau will release its annual report on poverty. This report is noteworthy because this year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. Liberals claim that the War on Poverty has failed because we didn’t spend enough money. Their answer is just to spend more. But the facts show otherwise.

Since its beginning, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution.

One third of the U.S. population received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013.

The federal government currently runs more than 80 means-tested welfare programs. These programs provide cash, food, housing and medical care to low-income Americans. Federal and state spending on these programs last year was $943 billion. (These figures do not include Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment Insurance.)

Over 100 million people, about one third of the U.S. population, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S.

But today the Census will almost certainly proclaim that around 14 percent of Americans are still poor. The present poverty rate is almost exactly the same as it was in 1967 a few years after the War on Poverty started. Census data actually shows that poverty has gotten worse over the last 40 years.

How is this possible? How can the taxpayers spend $22 trillion on welfare while poverty gets worse?

The typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in its home.

The answer is it isn’t possible. Census counts a family as poor if its income falls below specified thresholds. But in counting family “income,” Census ignores nearly the entire $943 billion welfare state.

For most Americans, the word “poverty” means significant material deprivation, an inability to provide a family with adequate nutritious food, reasonable shelter and clothing. But only a small portion of the more than 40 million people labelled as poor by Census fit that description.

The media frequently associate the idea of poverty with being homeless. But less than two percent of the poor are homeless. Only one in ten live in mobile homes. The typical house or apartment of the poor is in good repair and uncrowded; it is actually larger than the average dwelling of non-poor French, Germans or English.

According to government surveys, the typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in his home. Forty percent have a wide screen HDTV and another 40 percent have internet access. Three quarters of the poor own a car and roughly a third have two or more cars. (These numbers are not the result of the current bad economy pushing middle class families into poverty; instead, they reflect a steady improvement in living conditions among the poor for many decades.)

The intake of protein, vitamins and minerals by poor children is virtually identical with upper middle class kids. According to surveys by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the overwhelming majority of poor people report they were not hungry even for a single day during the prior year.

We can be grateful that the living standards of all Americans, including the poor, have risen in the past half century, but the War on Poverty has not succeeded according to Johnson’s original goal. Johnson’s aim was not to prop up living standards by making more and more people dependent on an ever larger welfare state. Instead, Johnson sought to increase self-sufficiency, the ability of a family to support itself out of poverty without dependence on welfare aid. Johnson asserted that the War on Poverty would actually shrink the welfare rolls and transform the poor from “taxeaters” into “taxpayers.”

Judged by that standard, the War on Poverty has been a colossal flop. The welfare state has undermined self-sufficiency by discouraging work and penalizing marriage. When the War on Poverty began seven percent of children were born outside marriage. Today, 42 percent of children are. By eroding marriage, the welfare state has made many Americans less capable of self-support than they were when the War on Poverty began.

President Obama plans to spend $13 trillion dollars on means-tested welfare over the next decade. Most of this spending will flow through traditional welfare programs that discourage the keys to self-sufficiency: work and marriage.

Rather than doubling down on the mistakes of the past, we should restructure the welfare state around Johnson’s original goal: increasing Americans capacity for self-support. Welfare should no longer be a one way hand out; able-bodied recipients of cash, food and housing should be required to work or prepare for work as condition of receiving aid. Welfare’s penalties against marriage should be reduced. By returning to the original vision of aiding the poor to aid themselves, we can begin, in Johnson’s words, to “replace their despair with opportunity.”

Article by Robert Rector, Heritage Foundation

September 12th, 2014

October 13, 2014 The LRWF October Dinner meeting will feature Dane Eagle, FL House of Representatives District 77, Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman, and Lee County School Board member Cathleen Morgan.  They will discuss both the state and local amendments and referendums on the ballot in the November 4th election.

August 29th, 2014

“Rooting out a cancer like ISIL won’t be easy and it won’t be quick,” President Obama told the American Legion’s annual convention in Charlotte on Tuesday, August 26. He repeated the thought in his pre-Labor Day weekend press conference on August 28. A week before, the day after the murder of James Foley, Obama had remarked, “From governments and peoples across the Middle East there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread.”

These expressions of alarm at a malignant cancer in the Middle East are an improvement over Obama’s cavalier dismissal, earlier this year, of ISIL as the junior varsity of terrorists. But salutary alarm doesn’t automatically result in sound policy. And—not to make a mountain out of a metaphor—Obama’s comparison of the Islamic State to a cancer doesn’t give one confidence that he’ll come up with a sound policy.

Here’s the problem: Cancer is a disease. The Islamic State is an enemy. There’s a difference.

Cancer develops, as it were, naturally. We counter it as best we can through human art and invention. Medicine or surgery sometimes succeeds in checking the disease and even freeing the body of it. But a terrorist movement does not develop naturally. The Islamic State was brought into existence by certain human beings acting according to a certain intention, an evil and destructive intention to be sure, but an intention nonetheless. To counter the Islamic State—to defeat it—we need to grasp and frustrate and overcome our enemies’ intention. Treating cancer is a task for surgery. Fighting the Islamic State is a task for strategy.

But, as President Obama acknowledged in his August 28 press conference, “We don’t have a strategy yet” to deal with the Islamic State. That’s kind of unfortunate. Especially because an American president who was serious about marshaling and mobilizing the elements of national power behind a strategy for victory could, we suspect, defeat the Islamic State more quickly and more easily than President Obama thinks. But President Obama doesn’t have such a war strategy because he still doesn’t want to accept that we’re at war. He believes, after all, that “the tide of war is receding.” So even when he deploys some of the mechanisms of war, he does so hesitantly, defensively, and haphazardly. To organize for war, to articulate a strategy, to commit to victory—all of this would make the Obama presidency a war presidency. But being a war president doesn’t comport with Barack Obama’s self-image. And for Barack Obama, self-image trumps reality.

Sometimes Obama acknowledges the reality that human agency is, so to speak, behind our troubles abroad. But even so, his formulation of what we should do is oddly passive. For example, after saying to the American Legion that “rooting out a cancer like ISIL won’t be easy and it won’t be quick,” Obama continued: “But tyrants and murderers before them should recognize that kind of hateful vision ultimately is no match for the strength and hopes of people who stand together for the security and dignity and freedom that is the birthright of every human being.” It would be nice if tyrants and murderers recognized all kinds of things. But they tend not to. And exhorting them to do so tends not to have much effect. That’s why we need to defeat tyrants and murderers. That’s why we need to achieve victory over our enemies. Yet the words “enemy” and “victory” nowhere appear in Obama’s remarks after the murder of James Foley, nor in his American Legion speech, nor in his August 28 press conference.

Neither The Weekly Standard’s imprecations nor reality’s ministrations are likely to lead Barack Obama to become the war president we deserve. But in America we’re not governed by one man alone. We have public officials who take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and who have a responsibility not just to the president but to the public. We have a Congress elected by the citizenry. We have an opposition party. We have members of Barack Obama’s own party who could discover minds of their own. And we have men and women of ambition who seek to succeed Barack Obama in the presidency.

All of them have a role to play in making the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency better than it would otherwise be. Obama believes in leading from behind. These other American leaders can form a parade of which Barack Obama can bring up the rear. And they can lay the groundwork for the arrival of a new president who will lead from the front.

The effort to limit the damage of the Obama presidency won’t be easy. Recovery from the Obama presidency won’t be quick. But what that is worthwhile has ever been quick and easy?

William Kristol
The Weekly Standard

August 19th, 2014

The situation in Iraq remains grave. Spiraling violence, political instability, and a humanitarian crisis caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could impact U.S. vital interests. The Obama Administration has an obligation to take responsible action. Congress should insist the President take immediate, suitable, and appropriate measures to safeguard American interests.

Further, President Obama was right when he said, “I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks. This is going to be a long-term project.” Therefore, Congress needs to look to the long term, ensuring that the instruments of national power are sufficient to stem the rise of a new global transnational terrorist threat and spreading war in the Middle East, which could lead to greater and even more dangerous and destructive conflict.

Why the U.S. Should Care

Two key U.S. interests are at risk as a result of the current situation. The first is the defense of the American homeland, as well as American assets and individuals overseas. For many months, pipelines have been funneling foreign fighters into the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. One recent estimate put the number at over 10,000, including over 3,000 Westerners.

Recruiting foreign fighters is a well-established tactic employed by Islamist extremist groups. Fighters not only add to the ranks undertaking terrorist acts, insurgency, and military campaigns in the operational area; they also become instruments to spread terrorist violence—establishing or inspiring terrorist cells in other countries, spreading propaganda, and providing a cadre of leadership and trained technical advisors for extremist movements in other countries.

As documented by the 9/11 Commission, a base of operations in Afghanistan was a prerequisite for the planning and execution of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Even without a new established base of operations on the scale of what al-Qaeda established in Afghanistan, Islamists have plotted at least 63 attacks against the U.S. since 9/11, including three that were successful. A terrorist state in Iraq, committed to attacking the West, would represent an even greater threat against the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests and allies in the West. This base would have more resources and greater access to the West than al-Qaeda did prior to 9/11.

A second U.S. interest is the adverse consequences that could result from the war in Iraq spilling over into other countries and destabilizing the region. In particular, one consequence of the current insurgent campaign is the potential to spark a broader sectarian conflict that could engulf U.S. allies in the Middle East and cause worldwide disruptions.

The President’s focus on humanitarian interests in the Iraq conflict misses the big picture. The best way for the U.S. to mitigate human suffering in Iraq is to help restore peace and stability in the country.

Why the U.S. Should Worry

Three issues raise immediate concern for U.S. interests.

First, ISIS has proven to be a formidable threat, using financial resources, military capability, and information warfare to establish a foothold in a significant portion of Iraq. Further, reported abuses within the country and threats against the West suggest that ISIS represents a threat at least as serious as that posed by the al-Qaeda network.

Second, the inability of the Iraqis to establish a stable and responsible central government means that Iraq could permanently fragment. The devolution of Iraq would likely spur further sectarian competition and economic disruption and create new opportunities for extremist activity.

Third, the collapse of the Iraqi military in the field leaves the country without an effective non-sectarian security force to provide for public safety, let alone deal with the ISIS invasion.

Next Steps

  1. The U.S. should keep Kurdistan in the fight. This region of the country is an irreplaceable bulwark against Islamist expansion and a critical contributor to rebuilding the Iraqi economy.
  2. Iraqis need a stable unity government in Baghdad. Without a government committed to representing all Iraqis and reestablishing sovereignty over all Iraqi territory, saving Iraq will be an almost impossible task. Stability in Baghdad is a prerequisite for getting effective Iraqi security forces back in the fight.
  3. Remember Jordan. Jordan is a keystone of stability in the region. It would be a tragedy if the conflict in Iraq spilled over and destabilized this small but important country.
  4. Worry about Iran. Iran remains an active state sponsor of terrorism with a terrible human rights record and a penchant for meddling in Iraqi affairs. Further, despite international efforts, significant concerns remain over the Iranian nuclear program. The U.S. should be working to marginalize Iran’s influence in the region and particularly in Iraq.

Congress Can Help

Congress should:

  • Urge the President to help the Iraqi people deal with the threat of ISIS.
  • Work with the President in establishing a coalition of friends and allies to vigorously combat the terrorist pipelines bringing foreign fighters into and out of Iraq.
  • Refuse to endorse or support any agreement that does not eliminate concerns over an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Further, Congress should work to reestablish the strongest possible sanctions regime.
  • Review the recently released report of the National Defense Panel and resolve the critical shortfalls it identifies in military capabilities and long-term readiness that will be required to protect U.S. vital interests in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

First, Stop Losing

The first step in winning any war is to stop losing. The U.S. should assist the Iraqis in taking back their country and winning a future that promises peace and prosperity rather than violence and oppression.

These steps will not resolve the immediate crisis in Iraq, but they are the necessary first steps in taking the long, painful road back to security, stability, and prosperity in the region.

—James Jay Carafano, PhD, is Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow, at The Heritage Foundation. Steven P. Bucci, PhD, is Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, of the Davis Institute, at The Heritage Foundation.

August 1st, 2014

Medical Marijuana Draws the Fire of Florida Police Chiefs

The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) took aim at Amendment 2, a proposed amendment to the state Constitution which will allow more medical marijuana options in Florida. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week found 88 percent of Floridians support medical marijuana though the survey did not focus on Amendment 2. The poll also showed 55 percent of Florida voters backed the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

“Regardless of any state laws, recreational marijuana use is still illegal on the federal level because of its high potential for abuse and the fact that there is no currently accepted national standard for use as a medical treatment,” said Chief Frank Kitzerow, the president of the FPCA, on Thursday. “It’s important to understand that expanding the use of marijuana for medical purposes is not a safer way to use the drug.”

Kitzerow pointed to studies which “show that marijuana use and criminal involvement – other than drug use – are highly related” and car accidents involving marijuana after Colorado legalized it for medicinal reasons.

July 30th, 2014

Obamacare has proven again to be the biggest legislative failure in history, with last week’s ruling that its subsidies are illegal. These subsidies induced some 5 million Americans to sign up for Obamacare, but are prohibited by law as held by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Halbig v. Burwell.

This humiliation to the Obama Administration was a devastating setback to legislation already disfavored by a 59-40% margin among the public, according to the latest CNN poll. Twice as many Americans say they are being hurt rather than helped by Obamacare.

Officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare is neither affordable nor protective of patients. It promised subsidies for millions of Americans to buy new health insurance and to pay costly premiums that have driven insurance company stock values to record highs.

People in households making between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line (between $11,670 and $46,680 per year for one-person households) have been getting subsidies to buy insurance on health insurance exchanges. A staggering 90% of those who signed up for this Obamacare insurance did so in reliance on these subsidies, which the Court just ruled are illegal.

These health insurance exchanges are much more than marketplaces, like Travelocity or Expedia, to make it easier to shop for and buy health insurance. They are also the vehicle for dispensing subsidies and imposing penalties, while also building Big Brother-like databases about Americans.

The liberal central planners inside the D.C. Beltway thought the 50 States would comply with Obama’s demand that they set up these health insurance exchanges, at costs estimated to be as much as $100 million per exchange. As an incentive for States to set up these exchanges, the law provided substantial subsides to people who sign up for a State-established exchange.

The central government planners thought the subsidies would coerce States to establish their own health insurance exchanges, similar to how the federal government coerces States to obey D.C. commands in other fields such as education. But States balked after they saw how much control they would be giving to the federal government by establishing a State exchange, and how expensive they would end up being.

Nearly two years ago, noted patient advocate Twila Brase, R.N., explained why “a state-established exchange is a federal takeover center.” State exchanges would be required to obey federal regulations, report annually to the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and comply with a list of federally mandated Essential Health Benefits as dictated by the Secretary of HHS.

Her conclusion: “Just say no” because “refusing to build the state exchanges is key to stopping Obamacare.” More than 2/3rds of the States – 36 of them – have done just that.

States do not work for Barack Obama, which he has been slow to figure out. Democrats were crushed in the landslide midterm elections after the passage of Obamacare in 2010, and a repeat performance looms large with the next midterm elections barely three months away.

Back in 2010, Obama was riding high and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded passage of Obamacare by declaring, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it!” But now Democrats are angry at what the D.C. Circuit told them is really in the bill.

Perhaps Obama and his lieutenants should have read the bill before railroading it through Congress. The text of Obamacare expressly states that the subsidies for the purchase of health insurance on an exchange are available only for an “Exchange established by the State,” and the Obama Administration broke the law by subsidizing the purchase of health insurance over federal rather than State exchanges.

The D.C. Circuit admirably upheld the law as it was passed, and properly rejected attempts by the Obama Administration to rewrite it now. The Court admitted that “our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly,” but confined its ruling to interpreting the law rather than rewriting it as Obama seeks now.

Adding to the chaos, on the very same day as this defeat of Obamacare in the D.C. Circuit, another federal appellate court upheld it. That is like one umpire calling a pitch as a “ball” after another umpire had declared it a “strike.”

Chief Justice John Roberts testified during his confirmation hearings that a judge should limit himself to the role of an umpire, calling the balls and strikes without changing the rules of the game. It is refreshing that a panel of judges on the D.C. Circuit did exactly that in applying the law as it was written, not rewriting it as Obama now wishes he had written it.

by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum

July 4th, 2014

The persistent march of terrorists and tyrants around the globe gives us reason to reflect on the precious gift of freedom we have been given and must continue to safeguard.

In signing the Declaration of Independence, 238 years ago, our Founding Fathers defied an intolerable King and proclaimed a God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those men signified to the world that, although they yearned for peace, they would not submit to despots. Their demand for liberty offered no compromise.

As Thomas Jefferson later wrote, the Declaration was “an expression of the American mind”—one that refuses to accept insufferable evil, abuses, and usurpations and holds the freedom of its people supreme.

This is the spirit America was founded upon.

This is the heritage we all share.

This is what makes us Americans.

Much time has passed, but many of the challenges our forefathers faced have not changed. One doesn’t have to look very far on the world map to find nations where people suffer under brutal oppressors.

“Terrorism” is an often-used word because the maiming and killing of innocents is so frequent. Suicide bombings, IEDs, mass killings, kidnappings, and hijackings are tools of their trade.

Hamas recently kidnapped and murdered three Jewish teenagers who were waiting for a bus to get home from school. They committed no wrong; they were targeted, forcibly taken, and shot.

Hundreds of girls remain missing in Nigeria, kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.

We remember when Taliban forces shot Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager because she was campaigning for girls’ education. Courageously, she continues to advocate for it today.

We remember watching Neda Agha-Solten perish on the streets of Tehran during anti-government protests from a gunshot wound to the chest.

We remember when the Syrian government gassed hundreds of beautiful, faultless, cherished children in their sleep last year, shocking the conscience of people around the world.

And, there are countless others whose stories have not been told.

Most of us, because we are Americans, will never have to suffer as these people and their families have. Thank God for the blessing of being an American and those who have fought and continue to fight to keep us free.

And, remember, those Americans who are trapped, at this moment, in dark corners of the world.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, has been brutalized and remains imprisoned in Iran for merely sharing his Christian faith. Another American citizen, Kenneth Bae, is imprisoned in North Korea for also sharing his Christian faith. And, Meriam Ibrahim, a young mother who was forced to give birth with her legs in irons because she would not renounce her Christian faith, was kept in a Sudanese prison with her two small American children. Due to international outcry over their plight, they are finally out of jail, but are still waiting to experience real freedom in America.

We should never take our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for granted. Too much of the world does not recognize them. We must still hold these truths.

Just as those brave men did 238 years did ago, let us affirm our commitment to a government defined by consent of the people—a transformative concept that launched America into becoming the greatest force for freedom the world has ever seen.

On this Fourth of July raise up your American flags high and wave them proudly. The spirit of our star-spangled banner makes us who we are. That spirit keeps us strong, safe, and free.

Written by Ted Cruz for The Heritage Foundation

July 1st, 2014

You don’t have to agree with Hobby Lobby or share its owners’ opposition to abortion to recognize that the government should not be able to force Americans to set aside their deeply held beliefs simply because they go into business.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court agreed and upheld the right of Americans to live and work according to their convictions in a 5- 4 decision today.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the justices ruled the government will not be able to force Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties to provide coverage of four drugs and devices that can end the life of a human embryo.

As Justice Samuel Alito noted in the majority opinion today, there were plenty of other ways for the government to provide the drugs and devices in question to women who wanted them without forcing private family businesses to violate their convictions.

Applying the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to closely held family businesses, the Court found that the government cannot coerce the Greens’ and Hahns’ businesses to violate their beliefs.

As the Court noted today: “Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.”

Passed by Congress in 1993 by broad, bipartisan majorities, RFRA protects Americans from substantial burdens on religious freedom unless the government can show it has a compelling government interest and does so in the least restrictive way possible. That’s a high bar and one the Obama administration failed to meet under this mandate.

Today’s decision rejects the administration’s argument that Americans’ religious freedom ends when they open a family business.

Having essentially exempted the health plans of nearly 100 million individuals from this mandate and provided a religious exemption (albeit narrow) to houses of worship, the Obama administration was unable to show a compelling reason for burdening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ businesses.

To be clear, the decision today applies only to the Obamacare rule that was threatening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses. Other claims for religious exemptions by closely held family businesses from other laws will have to be litigated on a case-by-case basis. RFRA doesn’t provide a blank check for religious believers to do whatever they want in the name of religion and neither does today’s decision.

With today’s ruling, the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses will be able to continue offering their employees generous healthcare plans (which cover most forms of contraception) without fear of government penalties. And the women who work for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood remain free – like all women – to make their own decisions about these four drugs and devices (as well as other birth control) and to purchase or find insurance coverage for them. But the government cannot coerce these family businesses to participate in those decisions in violation of their beliefs.

Article from the Heritage Foundation