Much At Stake as Supreme Court Scrutinizes Obamacare
Weekly summary of world news
Norm Olson March 27, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court has begun on Monday hearing arguments in NFIB vs. Sebelius, the cardinal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. As an indication of its importance, the Justices have allotted six hours for arguments—the most time granted in any case since Brown vs. Board of Education. “Nothing less than the future of the nation is at stake: our ideals, our freedoms and the ability of our small businesses to create jobs and grow the economy,” remarked Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, on Fox News. Continued Harned, “It is not hyperbole to state that this may be the most important case the Court will hear this century.” Five of the freedoms at stake, says Harned, are (1) the American ideal of freedom, the freedom to purchase whatever product we want with our own money, the right to own and operate a small business, the power to decide what is medically best for our families and businesses, and the economic future of this country. “The stage is set for this case to make history,” says Harned. “Either the nation morphs into a culture of dependency, where Americans relinquish their freedoms to an all-powerful government, or we stand for what the Founders sought to preserve: our individual liberties and freedoms.” Just 36 percent of Americans back Obamacare, which is opposed by pro-life groups because it funds abortions and prompts rationing concerns, reports LifeNews.com. Obamacare also doesn’t just discourage entrance into the medical profession; it encourages those who are already practicing to leave it, reports The Foundry. A survey states that “health care reform is motivating doctors to change their retirement timeline.” In fact, 43 percent of respondents said they are considering retiring within the next five years as a result of the law. A surgeon from Michigan wrote that under Obamacare, “We will be moving further away from humanity-based health care and more towards the patient as a commodity. This was not the way my father practiced—nor will I. Winding down to retire early.”
- Los Angles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called for the Democratic Party to include language that would endorse gay marriage after a reporter asked about the issue. Villaraigosa said, “We want to make this the most accessible convention possible. This just isn’t going to be open to a small group of people. The delegates will make the decision on the platform but I do support it and certainly have for a long time.” Tony Perkins, who heads up the Family Research Council, meanwhile, says Democrats are only trying to distract the voters and that traditional marriage still has plenty of support, even among many moderate to conservative Democrats. “The media will do what it can to persuade people that conservatives are losing momentum. Don’t believe it,” Perkins wrote in an article that he sent to The Christian Post. “Some legislators can be bought, but the American people cannot. The majority of the country [Democrats, Republicans and Independents] are still firmly planted in the camp of man-woman marriage.” Villaraigosa will chair the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September, just three months after the state’s voters will weigh in on an amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. Advocates on both sides are gearing up for a hard-fought contest.
- A plan to hold an Easter service at a Sacramento, Calif., mosque is drawing a mixed reaction from the Christian community. The good news of a resurrected Christ won’t be part of the service. “I know that I don’t believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus but I do believe his spirit ascended and his teachings are very valid and transformative,” the Rev. Michael Moran, senior minister of The Spiritual Life Center, told The Christian Post. SLC will be holding all of its upcoming Easter services at a mosque owned by the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims, the result of an expiring lease on their building at Pioneer Christian Church. The church is part of the Unity movement, founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in 1889, which holds beliefs not in line with traditional Christian teaching. Their ministry embraces the controversial “one God, many paths” belief and desires to create peace and harmony among all the world religions. Though they see Jesus as a great teacher, they do not see him as the only way to eternal life. Professor Erik Thoennes, chair of Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola University, however, asserted that “an Easter service where the physical resurrection of Christ is not believed is not an Easter service in any sense, biblically or historically.” “A church that does not follow the risen Christ is not a true church,” he told The Christian Post.
- Twenty-five journalists with the Gannett media group in Wisconsin signed a petition calling for the recall of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, according to a Green Bay newspaper where some of those journalists work and reported by Fox News. Kevin Corrado, a Green Bay publisher, disclosed the actions of Gannett Wisconsin Media employees in a recent column and said they are facing disciplinary action. “It was wrong, and those who signed the petition were in breach of Gannett’s principles of ethical conduct,” Corrado wrote. The state’s Gannett investigative team recently broke the story about how 29 circuit court judges had signed the very same recall petitions. Corrado said nobody involved in that project, or in “our news or political coverage,” had signed the petitions. “Had they been directly involved, we would identify them,” Corrado wrote. Still, he said the fact that any employees signed it, including seven at the Press-Gazette, is “disheartening.” Corrado wrote that some of the journalists equated signing the petition to casting a vote in an election, something journalists routinely do. But Corrado suggested that signing the petition got them “personally involved” in the issue. Walker is expected to face a recall election by June, prompted by his effort with state Republicans to overhaul union rules in Wisconsin. “The recall effort has gotten state and national attention, and we as a news organization have done our best to bring that story to you,” Corrado wrote. “The journalists’ instincts, if not their training, should have kicked in, warning them not to get personally involved. They should have realized there could be a public backlash resulting from this lapse in judgment.”
- A bookstore in Canada has sold out of an Islamic marriage guide that instructs Muslim men on how to beat their wives, reports conservativebyte.com and the Toronto Sun. Among the advice dispensed in “A Gift for the Muslim Couple” is to “beat by hand or stick” and “pull [her] by the ears.” The husband may also withhold money to exert control, though should “refrain from beating her excessively.” The 160-page book was being sold at Islamic Books and Souvenirs in Toronto. The store’s manager told the Toronto Sun it had been sold out for some time.
- An activist group has been teaching the homeless how to invade apartments, reports patriotupdate.com. Picture the Homeless, a Bronx nonprofit that has received at least $240,000 in taxpayer money in the last five years, is giving a crash course on squatting—and city-owned buildings are a prime target. Two weeks ago, board member Andres Perez held a teach-in on how to wrest “control” of vacant apartments. He called it “homesteading.” Patriotupdate.com also reports that few communities have started to think long term about how to plan and redesign services for aging baby boomers as they move out of the workforce and into retirement. Even more troubling, dwindling budgets in a tight economy have pushed communities to cut spending on delivering meals to the homebound and shuttling folks who can no longer drive to grocery stores and doctors’ offices. These cuts, advocates for older Americans say, are coming when the services are needed more than ever. And those needs will grow tremendously over the next two decades. The nation’s population of those 65 and older will double between 2000 and 2030, according to the federal Administration on Aging. That adds up to one out of every five Americans, 72.1 million people. Just eight years from now, researchers say, a quarter of all Ohio’s residents in half of the state’s counties will be 60 or older. Arizona and Pennsylvania project that one in four of its residents will be over the age of 60 by 2020.
- Mitt Romney said Sunday that President Obama owes Americans an apology for the policies he’s implemented that have led to high deficits and poor job growth, reports conservativebyte.com. “He’s been out there trying to take credit for his policies,” said Romney, standing in front of an oil rig in Shreveport. “Actually I think he’s confused—it’s his policies that have caused a lot of our problems. He shouldn’t be trying to take credit, he should be pointing out he made some big mistakes. I’m reminded of another tour he took at the beginning of his administration. He went around the Middle East and apologized for America,” he said. “You know instead of apologizing for America he should have stood up and said that as the president of the United States we all take credit for the greatness of this country.” Romney has long criticized Obama for “apologizing for America,” even naming his book No Apology, vowing that if he is president he will never apologize for America. Conservativebyte.com reports that Rick Santorum won the Louisiana primary Saturday but still faces a tough next few weeks as he competes in Northern states where frontrunner Mitt Romney has done well. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, won 49 percent of the vote, compared to 26 percent for Romney, and 17 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
- Up until now, everyone has believed that the efforts to declare Barack Obama ineligible to hold the office of president of the United States has been carried out only by Republicans. That may have been true at one time, but not anymore, according to godfatherpolitics.com. Michael Voeltz is a Democrat who has seen the evidence laid out on Obama’s eligibility and believes that the current occupant of the White House is not legally eligible to reside there. Voeltz not only is a Democrat, but he was also an eligible elector for the Florida primary that took place on Jan. 31. According to his attorney, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch USA, Voeltz says that he took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and that in so doing feels it is his obligation to file the suit. He explained that there is not sufficient evidence that proves Obama was born in the U.S. and there is no evidence that Obama’s father ever obtained U.S. citizenship. Both situations fail to meet the requirements of being a natural-born citizen. The lawsuit cites the findings of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department Cold Case Posse investigation that was made public on March 1. The investigation said that there is substantial evidence to indicate that the birth certificate released by the White House in April 2011 is a forgery and that fraud was committed when it was made public and declared to be authentic by the White House. Klayman was one of the attorneys who argued the Gore vs. Bush case in 2004.
- Schools in the UK are banning children from having “best friends,” reports The Sun. Instead, the primary pupils are being encouraged to play in large groups. Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said the policy has been used at schools in Kingston, South West London, and Surrey. She noted, “I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn’t have a best friend and that everyone should play together. They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they’re learning to deal with it.” Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, confirmed some schools were adopting best-friend bans. The Campaign for Real Education, which wants more parental choice in state education, said the “ridiculous” policy robs children of their childhood. Spokesman Chris McGovern added, “Children take things very seriously and if you tell them they can’t have a best friend it can be seriously damaging to them. They need to learn about relationships.”