Friday, June 26, 2015

Chief Justice John Roberts - On the Conservative Hot Seat Again

Chief Justice John Roberts, not only agreed with the court on King vs. Burell, he wrote the opinion that upheld another potential stumbling block for “obamacare”. As a result, some Conservatives are mighty teed off. (Politico). That said if one reads the opinion (here in PDF), the man played by the rules of the Constitution and the Court, ruling from what it appears with prudence, rather than say, any political inference.

In addition to those reforms, the Act requires the creation of an “Exchange” in each State—basically, a marketplace that allows people to compare and purchase insurance plans. The Act gives each State the opportunity to establish its own Exchange, but provides that the Federal Government will establish the Exchange if the State does not. This case is about whether the Act’s interlocking re- 2 KING v. BURWELL Opinion of the Court forms apply equally in each State no matter who establishes the State’s Exchange. Specifically, the question presented is whether the Act’s tax credits are available in States that have a Federal Exchange.


In addition to those three reforms, the Act requires the creation of an “Exchange” in each State where people can shop for insurance, usually online. 42 U. S. C. §18031(b)(1). An Exchange may be created in one of two ways. First, the Act provides that “[e]ach State shall . . . establish an American Health Benefit Exchange . . . for the State.” Ibid. Second, if a State nonetheless chooses not to establish its own Exchange, the Act provides that the Secretary of Health and Human Services “shall . . . establish and operate such Exchange within the State.” §18041(c)(1). The issue in this case is whether the Act’s tax credits are available in States that have a Federal Exchange rather than a State Exchange. The Act initially provides that tax credits “shall be allowed” for any “applicable taxpayer.” 26 U. S. C. §36B(a). The Act then provides that the amount of the tax credit depends in part on whether the taxpayer has enrolled in an insurance plan through “an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [hereinafter 42 U. S. C. §18031].” 26 U. S. C. §§36B(b)–(c) (emphasis added).

The IRS addressed the availability of tax credits by promulgating a rule that made them available on both State and Federal Exchanges. 77 Fed. Reg. 30378 (2012). As relevant here, the IRS Rule provides that a taxpayer is eligible for a tax credit if he enrolled in an insurance plan through “an Exchange,” 26 CFR §1.36B–2 (2013), which is defined as “an Exchange serving the individual market . . . regardless of whether the Exchange is established and operated by a State . . . or by HHS,” 45 CFR §155.20 (2014). At this point, 16 States and the District of Columbia have established their own Exchanges; the other 34 States have elected to have HHS do so.

We begin with the text of Section 36B. As relevant here, Section 36B allows an individual to receive tax credits only if the individual enrolls in an insurance plan through “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031].” In other words, three things must be true: First, the individual must enroll in an insurance plan through “an Exchange.” Second, that Exchange must be “established by the State.” And third, that Exchange must be established “under [42 U. S. C. §18031].” We address each requirement in turn. First, all parties agree that a Federal Exchange qualifies as “an Exchange” for purposes of Section 36B. See Brief for Petitioners 22; Brief for Respondents 22. Section 18031 provides that “[e]ach State shall . . . establish an American Health Benefit Exchange . . . for the State.” §18031(b)(1). Although phrased as a requirement, the Act gives the States “flexibility” by allowing them to “elect” whether they want to establish an Exchange. §18041(b). If the State chooses not to do so, Section 18041 provides that the Secretary “shall . . . establish and operate such Exchange within the State.” §18041(c)(1) (emphasis added). (read balance here at supreme

Therefore, the Chief Justice sided with the law as it was written. Sour Grapes ensued

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

GOP – Can’t Catch a Break – From Cruz to the Confederate Flag

It appears that negative is the key word of the day for what is sometimes referred to as the “drive by media” when it comes to 2016 GOP candidates. For starters (there are so many so one must choose two for brevity) there is the AP Photograph of one Ted Cruz – the photo with Cruz standing next to a poster of a gun, was taken, most likely by someone who was not particularly skilled, to appear as if the gun on the poster was directly pointed at the Senator/candidates head. The photographer apparently missed that lesson where one is never to take a photo whereby there are objects that might detract from the main theme, a tree, for example might appear to be growing from someone’s head. Unfortunately, this particular photo has shocked some, and they are conservative, yet, instead of having a sense of humor, or giving a critique on the lack of skills employed by AP photographers, yelling from the rafters that this was intentional! (Yahoo News). It may or may not have been, and in all cases of the media, with few exceptions, one might suggest that it was intentional, but there are so many pertinent issues at hand that it seems rather small. Give the left a pass on this one.

That said, there is no excuse for the ridiculous assertion by a Politico piece that the GOP 2016 candidates played it “safe” on the confederate flag issue. The flag, a battle flag which historically stood for southern pride, (if one lived in the South), is now the cry of racisms (or has been since the carpetbaggers decided to get religion). Being the flag under discussion was in South Carolina and the removal or non-removal would be up to the state government, one would think it would be a 10th amendment issue. One would also think that smart and savvy candidates who profess to be lovers of the Constitution would not immediately weigh in, since, unless they lived in the State itself, it would be non-Constitutional for them to do so. Furthermore, what made this an issue was the usual hue and cry of the professional rabble-rousers, rather than any true passion, one the shooting at the church took place, and the pathetic individual appeared with a Confederate flag, among other items which stood for apartheid, was apprehended and photographs appeared. Instantly one had a guns issue (take them away!!) and a race issue (remove the flag!!) and perhaps the sky was falling. Meanwhile, families of victims of the shooting were espousing forgiveness and trying to grieve, while the aforementioned rabble-rousers descended upon the state. (The background). Frankly, one might have given the families some time, one might think to digest the fact that some who was on the face of it racist, but also taking medications known to cause suicide and or murder in hundreds of cases, might have been a little over the ledge, making this less of a shooter of hateful racism and more of a crazy person off or on their medication. Not a peep in that regard. Yet, according to Politico, many of those who weighed in after pressure from the media, or out of good conscious have most likely blown an election because they did a) too little to late) and b) most likely pissed off their base. (In simple language).

The situation is “caught between a rock and a hard place” – leaving those candidates (all who have weighed in which is an opinion on the GOP side), prey to those who will be producing opposition videos for Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley or least likely to achieve the nomination, Hillary Clinton. It was never about the families or the flag, it was about politics and a pre-election year where any event can turn into a massive protest, and one might bet their bottom dollar this will continue to happen. What is so sad is that a mental health issue and multiple families’ grief were thrown to the side in the name of the Holy Gail of politics. Addressing racism is one thing, in a proper context, as in this young man was a racist, who when on or off his meds, could not control himself. See Sandy Hook and other recent shootings where race may not have played a factor, yet another person who was on these medications or off went over the ledge in a picture perfect moment for some politicians and the true issue was swept under the bed – again in the name of politics. – Yet all is silent when murder after murder is being committed in major us cities, black on black, white on white, regardless of race, the youth of the nation are literally wasting their lives – yet no action, no outcry, no marches. No articles of disgust and dismay!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What’s in a Rural Town Hall? The potential for 20 Million Votes That's what.

Interesting little side note: the RFD-TV will begin a series of Town Hall meetings featuring Presidential Candidates for 2016 starting in this year this Rural Television network reaches the farms and small rural markets in our nation via satellite, cable and now Sirius. (RFDTV). The network boasts 50 Million subscribers, those in hard to reach areas, and those that can and do vote, if the candidate is, in some cases, correct.

One often wonders why, with all the polling, in place and the numbers pointing to an upheaval, that Romney did not fare better. After all, the 20 million Midwest evangelical voters would surely jump on board for a moderate Mormon candidate – but they did not. Therefore, this is the bully pulpit that would give candidates who fit the criteria of the Evangelical, a perfect stepping stone to a nomination and then to the Presidency. One must keep in mind that for the most part, regardless of the larger population areas being in predominately able to deliver votes for Democrats, that if the heartland truly jumps in, then they negate any gains and one finds as sweep, so to speak.

Therefore, this gives the politically minded, a good place from which to watch the response and the polls coming out of rural areas going forward.

According to Pew Research Evangelicals supported George Bush in 2000 and more so in 2004, when he ran against John Kerry. However, in 2012 estimates show that 4 million evangelicals simply stayed home, and the result was a returning President (Redstate).

Those figures of two to three million are extremely conservative numbers. Should the right, and the religious right decide to push a candidate forward both in the primaries and in the general election, then it follows that candidate should succeed in their endeavor to gain the White House. As of yet, is it too early to tell who may or may not meet their stringent criteria, however, as they are beginning to become more involved in the political processes, it may be a revival of the sorts one has not seen since Ronald Reagan was swept into office.

That would be a case where no matter how much money, or voters bused over state lines (2004 – Missouri), or negative ads or hit mailers, were thrown at the general populace, the chosen candidate would , against all odds, win the day.

Monday, June 22, 2015

What I learned by taking a vacation – the news that left me without the ability to put into words

Until today.

Once in a while there is a need to take a break from the predictable, so, I chose to spend my time worthlessly playing games online, rather than anything else. It is that mindlessness that allows one to defrag so to speak, from the cares of the word. The cares of the world are in one’s face 24/7 if one is at all vested in news – and the news of the day is horrid.

The stuff of nightmares – yet, with all that, there is hope- I found a church – and I felt peace. That has allowed me to once again, get on the stick and pontificate on this that and sundry news that may be most disturbing to some, or not. The one piece that has recently brought me out of the fog of malaise was the shootings in South Carolina. Of course, it rocked the nation – with that in mind, my desire for fellowship increased, and I found myself in Church this past Sunday. The Church is non-denominational, which suits me just fine, and the congregation is diverse, which suits me better. The message was a non-partisan, prayer for the families of those who lost loved ones-mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers.

As the usual rabblerousers that normally have no place in the local stories, rush to make a national news piece, those who are left behind but deal with the sorrow and the understanding that there is a great divide in this nation, one which is never talked about, rather it is always about “race”. The fact that children and adults with mental health issues on certain drugs have committed these atrocities and more has been left to the side, repeatedly. There are multiple links when goggled, for example this article from 2014 on 35 school shooters on a specific type of drug from, or the list of drugs and drug related homicides found here at All defy race, religion, or gender, and all are individuals who on prescribed medication committed murder.

What we have in this nation above all other things, is a mental-health-drug problem, with which, would come a lot of soul-searching to fix the problem, given our current politically correct state.

Blame the millennial, blame the racists, blame the Republicans (the go to for the media) and or pick a group – but let us not place blame on the policy that permits this to continue year after year, decade after decade. It is not compassion one might think, that allows this to continue, but possibly hard cash for government and pharmaceutical behemoth involved.

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