Not to Worry

There’s an article up at HuffPost entitled, “What If a Muslim Company Used the ‘Hobby Lobby’ Decision to Impose Its Values on White Christians?”

As long as Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy are on the bench, I really don’t think we have to worry about that.

Hobby Lobby Invests in Abortion Drugs!

Hobby Lobby may not want its employees to get contraceptives (like Plan B and IUDs) that the company claims cause abortions (even although they don’t), but they have no qualms about having more than $73 million of their 401K invested in companies that make Plan B, IUDs, and drugs that actually are used in abortions.  They’re very happy to profit from these companies at the same time they’ve told the Supreme Court it violates their religious beliefs to provide certain contraceptives to their workers.

Perhaps Hobby Lobby should be found guilty of perjury.

Why Are We Going Backwards?

Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, but IUDs have been widely used in this country for contraception since the late 1950’s.  If IUDs cause abortions, they would have been illegal prior to Roe.

Why is Hobby Lobby even allowed to argue in court that IUDs cause abortions?  Why are we going backwards?

No Obamacare, No Medicaid, No Nothing

The way Obamacare was supposed to work (for those without employer-based or government health care) was that some would get Medicaid under an expanded program, some would get insurance with government subsidies, and some would get insurance without government subsidies.

But when the Supreme Court found Obamacare constitutional, they also held that states didn’t have to expand Medicaid, and right now 25 states (all with GOP govs and/or legislatures) have refused to do so.  These red states are also among the poorest and unhealthiest states, places like Alabama and Mississippi.

So about 5 million people can’t get health insurance because they are too poor to qualify for subsidies.  Yes, you read that right.

Obamacare has left them in the same sad, sorry place they were before — with health care navigators encouraging them to try free clinics.  They should also encourage them to vote.




Stay Well, People in Red States

Obamacare authorizes subsidies for health insurance bought on an exchange “established by a state.”  So far, 34 states have refused to establish such exchanges, and people in those states are signing up — or trying to, God bless them — for insurance and subsidies on the federal exchange.

Can people using the federal exchange get subsidies?  A federal judge has refused to dismiss a case, Halbig v. Sebelius, arguing they can’t.  Eventually, this will go to the Supreme Court.

If people in more than half the states can’t get subsidies, it’s going to be a disaster for them and for Obamacare.

The other disaster — and it’s already here, it’s not just a possibility — is that the statute doesn’t provide subsidies for people who qualify for Medicaid.  You either get Medicaid or you pay full freight.  But half the states have refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA, even though the federal government pays 100% of that expansion for three years and 90% thereafter.  We’re talking about 8 million people who would qualify for expanded Medicaid not getting it.  By upholding Obamacare as constitutional, but finding that states can refuse to expand Medicaid, the Supreme Court created the absurd situation where people making too much for Medicaid get subsidies, but their poorer brethren don’t.  The most desperate are being denied.

When the ACA was drafted, it was just assumed that every state would expand Medicaid (since it would save states billions of dollars in paying for the uninsured) and would establish an exchange.  The Dems believed that GOP governors and legislators wouldn’t cut off their noses to spite their faces.  There’s a lot of red states with unattached noses.

Truth of the Day

From “U. S. Fringe Festival,” Thomas L. Friedman, NYT:

“In other words, the only thing standing between mainstream Republicans and a hellish future of kowtowing to Ted Cruz, never seeing the inside of the White House and possibly losing the House is President Obama’s refusal to give in to the shutdown blackmail that Cruz % Co. have cooked up.  The more pragmatic Republicans, who know that this is a disaster for their party but won’t confront Cruz & Co., have settled on this bogus line:  ‘Well, sure, maybe Cruz and the Tea Party went too far, but it’s still President Obama’s fault.  He’s president.  He should negotiate with them.  He needs to lead.’

“President Obama is leading.  He is protecting the very rules that are the foundation of any healthy democracy.  He is leading by not giving into this blackmail, because if he did he would undermine the principle of majority rule that is the bedrock of our democracy.  That system guarantees the minority the right to be heard and to run for office and become the majority, but it also ensures that once voters have spoken, and their representatives have voted — and, if legally challenged, the Supreme Court has also ruled in their favor — the majority decision holds sway.  A minority of a minority which has lost every democratic means to secure its agenda, has no right to now threaten to tank our economy if its demands are not met.”  Italics in original.

We currently have one party that is promoting its ideology and another that is promoting its insanity.  Not good, people, not good.

States’ Rights Are Back with a Vengeance

We think of the federal government as having gobbled up and pre-empted so much power at the expense of the state, but right now, when you look at abortion rights, voting rights, and gay marriage, the states are very much in control of whether or not we get to exercise our constitutional rights.  If you live in a GOP-controlled state, fuhgeddaboudit.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Voting Rights Provision

The Supreme Court, ruling 5-4, struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires the Justice Department to review voting law changes in nine states and six counties in six other states, based on their past history of racial discrimination.  Congress renewed the law in 2006 for another 25 years.

The majority decision said any attempt by Congress to rewrite Section 4 must rely on current conditions and cannot rely on past discrimination.

Based on what I’ve seen in our most recent elections, in terms of efforts to suppress minority votes, I think we unfortunately still need Section 4.

I know everybody’s outraged about Paula Deen, but they should be outraged about this decision.

So You Don’t Have a Right to Remain Silent

In  what seems to me a bizarre ruling, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Salinas v. Texas that if you simply refuse to answer a question, that silence can be held against you at trial.  You can’t simply remain silent, you have to expressly invoke your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

It seems to me that if you refuse to answer, a prosecutor should not be able to use that against you before a judge or jury.  You shouldn’t have to say some “magic words” to receive your Fifth Amendment rights.