Saturday, June 3, 2017

Obama Unwittingly Handed Trump a Weapon to Cripple the Health Law!

The New York Slimes ^ | June 3, 2017 | Carl Hulse 


WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials knew they were on shaky ground in spending billions of dollars on health insurance subsidies without clear authority. But they did not think a long-shot court challenge by House Republicans was cause for deep concern.

For one thing, they would be out of office by the time a final ruling in the case, filed in 2014, was handed down. They also believed that a preliminary finding against the administration would ultimately be tossed out. Finally, they figured that President Hillary Clinton could take care of the problem, if necessary.

Well, they are out of office, Mrs. Clinton is not president and the uncertain status of the cost-sharing payments now looms as the biggest threat to the stability of the insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. A dubious decision made by the previous White House has handed the current administration a powerful weapon to wield against the health care legislation that it despises.

“The administration should not have found an appropriation where none existed,” said Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor who has studied and written about the issue. “The Obama administration argument that the Affordable Care Act included an appropriation for the cost-sharing payments never held water.”
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...

Supreme Court Expedites Trump’s Petition on Executive Order Case!

Breitbart ^ | June 3, 2017 | by Ken Klukowski 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Supreme Court took the rare step on Friday of expediting consideration of a major case, rapidly accelerating the schedule for reviewing the Fourth Circuit’s blocking of President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order.

President Trump issued Executive Order 13780 (EO) on March 6, Section 2(c) of which temporarily restricted travel from six Muslim-majority countries associated with terrorism while the United States developed new vetting procedures to keep the nation safe.

Immigration activists sued, along with several immigrants and their families. A liberal federal district judge in Maryland granted a preliminary injunction blocking Section 2(c) of the EO. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit then affirmed the trial court’s injunction in a 10-3 decision, ruling that the EO violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, and taking the almost unheard-of step of all the court’s judges hearing the case, instead of sending it to a three-judge panel.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition for review at the Supreme Court on Thursday. Under the Court’s rules, a response from the plaintiffs would be due July 3. By that time the Court would be on recess for the summer, meaning that the justices would vote at the Court’s annual pre-Term conference, which will take place on September 25, on whether to take the case. That would typically mean hearing arguments in December or January, with a final decision coming down in early or mid-2018.
Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall at DOJ also asked Chief Justice John Roberts (who supervises the Fourth Circuit) to stay the appellate court’s decision until the justices can decide the matter.
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Trump breaks with Obama tradition of designating June as ‘LGBT Pride Month’ (HORRAY)

lifesite news.com ^ | June 2, 2017 | Peter LaBarbera 

May 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — President Trump is not celebrating June as “LGBT Pride Month” with an official proclamation, like his predecessor Barack Obama did every year, although various federal agencies are still holding “pride” events and making pro-LGBT statements.


The Washington Blade, a newspaper for homosexuals in the nation’s capital, reports that Trump is “breaking with a tradition started under the Obama administration” by not issuing the “gay pride” declaration, which irked social conservatives year after year in the beginning of June.


In what is obviously a bitter pill for homosexual and gender-confusion (“transgender”) activists to swallow, the Blade reports that “Trump on the last day of May issued five separate proclamations recognizing June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Homeownership Month, Great Outdoors Month and National Ocean Month. Absent from the list was anything related to [homosexual-transgender] Pride.”
(Excerpt) Read more at lifesitenews.com ...

Uh, oh. Science Journal Nature editorial on #ParisAgreement: “Better out than in”

warrs up with that? ^ | June 1, 2017 | Anthony Watts 

Now that President trump has announced the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate accord, this comes from nature.com and the “that’s going to leave a mark” department:

By Luke Kemp
Continued US membership in the Paris Agreement on climate would be symbolic and have no effect onUS emissions. Instead, it would reveal the weaknesses of the agreement, prevent new opportunities from emerging, and gift greater leverage to a recalcitrant administration.
After the election of President Trump and a two-house Republican majority, many fear for the future of US climate policy. The new administration has indicated that they will abolish Obama’s climate legacy through executive orders.
The repeal of domestic measures will likely result in the US missing its first nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, which is an inadequate target of reducing emissions by 26–28% compared to 2005 levels by 2025. If other countries adopted comparable targets, global warming would likely exceed 2°C (ref. 2). The US would need to implement the Clean Power Plan and additional measures to reach its NDC.
Preliminary research suggests that the policies of the Trump administration would instead lead to emissions increasing through to 2025.
Now the predominant concern for much of the international community is that the US will withdraw either from the Paris Agreement, or the overarching United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The former would take four years and the latter only one. Both are legally possible and within the presidential mandate.
The conventional wisdom is that a US withdrawal would be a worst-case scenario for international climate policy.
However, a sober analysis of the political, legal, and financial impacts suggests otherwise. The modified matrix of risks posed by a recalcitrant US administration summarized in Table1, and explored in detail below, highlights the paradox of US participation: a rogue US can cause more damage inside rather than outside of the agreement.

Full essay here

At age 111, America's oldest veteran is still smoking cigars, drinking whiskey and loving life!

Dallas News ^ | 2 Jun 17 | Brendan Meyer 

AUSTIN — Richard Overton is right where he wants to be.

He’s sitting in a lawn chair on the front porch of the Austin home he built nearly 70 years ago, working on his fifth Tampa Sweet cigar on a 91-degree sunny day. The smooth tunes of the Isley Brothers flow from a portable speaker. Birds are chirping in the late afternoon breeze.

“I’m feeling pretty good today,” Overton says, emphasizing the word pretty, because any day spent on this porch smoking cigars is a pretty good day for the 111-year-old.

This is where you’ll find the nation’s oldest veteran for 10 hours every day when the weather is nice. His friends call it his “stage.” It’s where Overton sits and thinks about life, his starting in 1906, the same year as the first wireless radio broadcast and a year before the paper towel was invented.

Richard Overton, 111, smokes a cigar on his Austin front porch among signs from his recent birthday celebration. Overton is the oldest living U.S. war veteran.
On this day, Overton is wearing a red cardigan buttoned over a powder blue polo, with light blue slacks and a black World War II veteran hat. He’s smiling and joking and feeling thankful. The previous week, Overton was wearing a hospital gown. He spent those sunny days stuck in a hospital bed with a 102-degree fever, in a non-smoking room, hooked to an IV as his body tried to fight off its latest bout of pneumonia. Overton prayed and flirted with nurses. Four days later, he was back where he wanted to be, on his stage with the birds and two packs of cigars.
Life has slowed year by year for the lifelong Austin resident. He was once a soldier in the U.S. military...
(Excerpt) Read more at dallasnews.com ...