Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Obama's New Imperial Decree

My article from the Nov. 29, 2013 issue of FrontPage Magazine:

Obama's New Imperial Decree

By Matthew Vadum

For purely partisan reasons, the Obama administration cynically unveiled extra-legal plans on the eve of Thanksgiving to unilaterally delay the launch of a website for small businesses to select plans through federal health care insurance exchanges.

It’s just the latest sleazy political move by the Community-Organizer-in-Chief to salvage his party’s fading electoral prospects by delaying at least some of the approaching tens of millions of health insurance policy cancellations until after the national vote next November.

It is also a sign of the Obama White House’s growing desperation over the political ramifications surrounding the grotesque failings of Obamacare. The administration said Wednesday it will unilaterally delay the upcoming launch of the online portal for small businesses. The website, which would allow small businesses to window-shop plans through the federal health insurance exchanges, won’t be ready for another year.

President Obama, whose political stature seems to shrink almost hourly, is feverishly trying to keep congressional Democrats aboard his sinking political ship. On Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers are now openly panicking at the damage the growing public backlash over Obamacare is going to inflict on their standings in the next Congress. Recent developments suggest that an electoral tsunami is developing that threatens to drown Democrats and give Republicans a healthy majority in the Senate.

The new one-year small business signup delay is just the latest in a series of unilaterally imposed deadline changes. One allows consumers to enroll until Dec. 23 — instead of Dec. 15 — to get coverage in time for the new year. The president also announced plans to push back the beginning of individual enrollment next year from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, or after the 2014 midterm congressional elections. 

Obama has no legal authority to do this but he doesn’t care.

The Next Supreme Court Battle for ObamaCare

My article from the Nov. 27, 2013 issue of FrontPage Magazine:

The Next Supreme Court Battle for ObamaCare

By Matthew Vadum

The U.S. Supreme Court decided yesterday to review a particularly odious mandate in the Obamacare law that undermines the religious liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment by forcing companies to provide health care coverage for birth control.

Although a court ruling nixing the birth control mandate would not kill Obamacare, whose constitutionality was upheld 5 to 4 by the Supreme Court last year in a bizarre, internally contradictory opinion, every obstacle placed in front of Obama’s socialist juggernaut gives hope to those fighting to save the country from the president’s policies.

At issue is whether President Obama’s health care law may compel for-profit companies to include birth control coverage as part of their health plans, even when such coverage violates the owners’ religious beliefs. The businesses say they are faced with having to violate their beliefs by providing birth control or dropping health care coverage for their workers. (The issues are discussed in a powerful 2012 book, No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom, by Phyllis Schafly and George Neumayr.)

“I really don’t think they had any alternative than to take this up,” said Holly Lynch, a health policy and bioethics specialist at Harvard Law School, about the case brought by almost 40 companies.
Companies said in court filings that fines for violating the mandate would cripple their businesses.

“This legal challenge has always remained about one thing and one thing only: the right of our family businesses to live out our sincere and deeply held religious convictions as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution,” said David Green, CEO of the Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby crafts chain, which won a lower court challenge to the law.

ACORN Wannabes May Get $4 Billion

My article from the Nov. 25, 2013 issue of FrontPage Magazine:

ACORN Wannabes May Get $4 Billion

By Matthew Vadum

Radical in-your-face pressure groups that are part of President Obama’s political machine may soon reap a $4 billion windfall thanks to a huge cash settlement the administration extracted from lending giant JPMorgan.

The settlement, which weighs in at a total of $13 billion, was unveiled last week by the Justice Department. In it JPMorgan acknowledged what DoJ called “serious misrepresentations to the public” about the mortgage securities transactions.

The $4 billion is supposed to be used to provide relief to underwater homeowners and potential homebuyers.

But there’s a catch.

According to the Department of Justice, if JPMorgan fails to shell out the $4 billion by Dec. 31, 2017, it will be required “to pay liquidated damages in the amount of the shortfall to NeighborWorks America, a non-profit organization and leader in providing affordable housing and facilitating community development.”

Why is the bank coughing up the dough?

“JPMorgan employees knew that the loans in question did not comply with those guidelines and were not otherwise appropriate for securitization, but they allowed the loans to be securitized – and those securities to be sold – without disclosing this information to investors,” the DoJ said. “This conduct, along with similar conduct by other banks that bundled toxic loans into securities and misled investors who purchased those securities, contributed to the financial crisis.”

It’s hogwash, of course.

What this all really means is that the bank stands accused of fraud — but that very accusation in itself is a fraud. JPMorgan did what liberal Democrats and some misguided Republicans told it to do.

The whole thing is an example of crass, vicious Marxist scapegoating, a class-warfare scam concocted to distract from the decisive role that boneheaded, destructive left-wing policies pushed by Barack Obama, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and their fellow Democrats played in plunging mortgage markets into chaos.

And NeighborWorks, the potential vehicle to distribute the $4 billion, is a government-funded housing organization that is politically aligned with the worst of the left-wing activist groups. These groups already get millions of taxpayer dollars from NeighborWorks which in recent decades has become a major funder of radical, often taxpayer-supported, activism.