December 3rd, 2014 at 2:41 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Eric Holder’s Plan to End Racial Profiling
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


December 2nd, 2014 at 6:33 pm
Obama’s New Defense Secretary Looks Like a Yes-Man
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

There’s no requirement that the Defense Secretary have actual military experience, but the selection of Ashton “Ash” Carter as the nominee to replace Chuck Hagel says a lot about what President Barack Obama wants from his next Pentagon chief.

“In addition to a broad understanding of the Pentagon bureaucracy, Carter is seen as a master of managing large budgets, a premium in the present era of continued belt tightening on Capitol Hill, as well as an expert on weapons acquisitions,” reports CNN.

“He also has a firm grasp on understanding the trends and technology of warfare in the future.”

Previously, Carter served as Deputy Defense Secretary – the Pentagon’s number two position – under Hagel and Leon Panetta. He’s bounced between academia and government with great success. Carter is apparently respected by the top military brass and is expected not to generate much controversy from Republicans when formally announced.

Yet for all the operational strengths Carter brings to the table – which appear to be considerable and surely appreciated on a day-to-day basis – missing from CNN’s bio piece is any mention of whether Carter as SecDef will have strong principles to guide his recommendations to President Obama regarding military strategy or foreign policy.

And maybe that’s the point.

From the looks of it, Ash Carter is a hardworking, intelligent man who knows how to get things done within a hugely important bureaucracy. Missing from his portfolio, though, is any indicator that he will be much more than yes-man.

Then again, maybe that’s the point.


December 2nd, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Senator Sessions Responds to Current Plan Being Floated in House Re: Obama’s Immigration Decree
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

The following statement was released earlier today by Senator Jeff Sessions in response to the current plan being floated in the House of Representatives in response to President Obama’s immigration decree.

“The Chairman of the Republican Party made a promise to America on executive amnesty: ‘We can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen… everything we can do to stop it we will.’

Unfortunately, the plan now being circulated in the House fails to meet that test. The executive amnesty language is substantially weaker than the language the House adopted this summer, and does not reject the central tenets of the President’s plan: work permits, Social Security, and Medicare to 5 million illegal immigrants—reducing wages, jobs, and benefits for Americans.

Congress considered and rejected these changes to immigration law in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2014. The President’s action erases the laws Congress has passed in order to implement laws Congress has refused to pass.

Now the President demands Congress fund his imperial decree and declare its own irrelevance.

That is why Congress must respond to the President’s unlawful action by funding the government but not funding illegal amnesty. This is a perfectly sound and routine application of congressional authority. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reports that last year’s omnibus spending bill included 16 such funding restrictions on fee-based programs.

Such a plan would put the focus where it belongs: on Senate Democrats. They are the ones who should be made to choose sides—save Obama’s amnesty or save Americans’ jobs and borders.

Polling shows voters believe that Americans should get preference for available jobs by almost a 10-1 margin. Republicans should not be timid or apologetic, but mount a bold defense of struggling Americans.

Billions of dollars and countless hours have been spent advocating immigration policies that help everyone but the actual citizens of this country. Who will be their voice, if not us?” 

BACKGROUND:

Since taking office, President Obama has engaged in a sustained and calculated campaign to dismantle the immigration laws of the United States. As his own former ICE Director, John Sandweg, explained: “if you’re a run-of-the-mill immigrant living here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.” ICE officers report that their agency caters to special interests and open borders activists, while they are ordered to ignore their oaths and the laws of the United States.

Additionally, since the year 2000, the U.S. has issued nearly 30 million lawful visas for permanent immigrants or temporary guest workers. As reported by the Pew Research Center, the total number of immigrants in the U.S. has reached a record 41.3 million. The share of the U.S. population that was born in another country, per the Census Bureau, has quadrupled.

According to Harvard labor economist Dr. George Borjas, current high immigration rates result in a $402 billion annual wage loss for American workers.


December 1st, 2014 at 7:12 pm
ObamaCare Poorly Written No Matter How You Spin It
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

National Journal has a piece warning liberals not to dismiss the latest Supreme Court challenge to ObamaCare.

Specifically, it argues that liberals shouldn’t rely on the idea that the disputed statutory text – the part that limits federal subsidies to buy health insurance only to plans bought on an exchange “established by the State” – is simply a typo that can be brushed aside as a drafting error. Doing so would empower conservatives on the Court to say, in essence, that “they see the error, are powerless to fix it, and so must dismantle the statute.”

But here’s where the analysis goes off the rails. According to the NJ writer, the subsidies challenge should fail because “if you read the whole Affordable Care Act, taken together, the ‘established by the State’ line loses its clarity.”

In other words, when we read the relevant part of a federal statute and discover that it makes other parts of the same law undesirable – e.g. unsubsidized and thus unaffordable health insurance – the judges should ignore the plain text and substitute what they think Congress really intended.

That’s the kind of judicial activism that conservative justices like Antonin Scalia despise.

Or is it?

“…ObamaCare supporters have a pretty strong argument on the textual side because judges – even strict constructionists like Justice Antonin Scalia – have consistently said that courts should read the entire law as one unit when handling questions of statutory interpretation,” writes the author.

But that’s only true if the specific section under review is ambiguous. Zooming out to look at the entire law isn’t necessary when it’s plain to see that subsidies are clearly prohibited when States don’t operate their own exchanges. If ObamaCare is clear in the details and only loses clarity when read as a whole, that’s a problem for Congress to correct, not the Court.

No matter which way you read the subsidies provision, ObamaCare is proving itself to be a very badly written law.


November 26th, 2014 at 2:40 pm
Amnesty Loophole Makes Illegal Immigrants More Cost-Effective than Native Workers
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

President Barack Obama’s decision to grant amnesty and work permits to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants creates a loophole that makes them $3,000 more attractive than native born and naturalized Americans, according to the Washington Times.

The loophole arises because Obama’s amnesty order prohibits the beneficiaries from buying subsidized insurance on an ObamaCare exchange. That prohibition means that employers don’t have to pay the $3,000 per employee fine the controversial health law imposes on businesses that don’t provide “affordable” health insurance. (Lack of affordability is what qualifies an employee to get a subsidy for the exchange.)

In other words, from an employer’s standpoint, hiring someone from Obama’s 5 million-strong amnesty pool means getting an exemption from the $3,000 fine.

So, not only are illegal immigrants covered by Obama’s amnesty skipping ahead of people trying to immigrate legally, they’re now also equivalent to a get-out-of-fines-free card when compared to all the workers already here.

And the outrage will just keep on building…


November 25th, 2014 at 5:03 pm
Jonathan Gruber to Testify Before House Committee
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

For political junkies, the news that MIT professor and ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber has agreed to testify before the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee is must see TV.

Gruber has stirred up a hornet’s nest of negative press for the controversial health care law because of statements he’s made at academic conferences over the last few years. Helpfully summarized by the folks at American Commitment, Gruber’s comments include calling American voters stupid and admitting to writing ObamaCare’s text in a tortured way to avoid a straightforward cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

Also appearing at the hearing will be Marilyn Tavener, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to explain – presumably with a straight face – why revelations that ObamaCare’s reported enrollment of 7 million inexplicably counted 400,000 dental plans. Republicans suspect a bad faith face-saving move since without the incorrectly included dental plans enrollment would have failed to reach CBO’s benchmark estimate.

All in all, December 9, 2014 should be an entertaining day in Washington, D.C. – if you like to watch contentious oversight hearings.


November 25th, 2014 at 12:51 pm
Obama Won’t Extend Unilaterial Amnesty to Tax Reform
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Sounds like no one prepped President Barack Obama for the obvious question posed by ABC’s George Stephanopolous: “How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in and wants to lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it; so he says ‘I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.’”

After dithering a bit, Obama replied with, “The vast majority of folks understand that they need to pay taxes, and when we conduct an audit, for example, we are selecting those folks who are most likely to be cheating. We’re not going after millions and millions of people who everybody knows are here and were taking advantage of low wages as they’re mowing lawns or cleaning out bedpans, and looking the other way.”

Stephanopolous pressed harder. “So you don’t think it’d be legitimate for a future president to make that argument?”

Without a hint of irony, Obama says, “With respect to taxes? Absolutely not.”

And yet the president has no reason in principle for limiting his successors in office from willfully disregarding whatever laws they don’t like. The former constitutional law professor seems to be completely unaware of the precedent he is setting by unilaterally suspending immigration enforcement. If left unrebuked, this action will teach future Oval Office occupants that the rule of law can – and at times should – be replaced with the whim of one.

The only saving grace in this interview is that the President of the United States seems genuinely clueless as to the logic of his own order. Such is the state of the chief executive.

H/T: Media Research Center


November 25th, 2014 at 9:38 am
Ramirez Cartoon: I’m Not an Emperor…
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


November 21st, 2014 at 10:20 am
Video – Title II: Obama Wants to Regulate the Internet
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses Barack Obama’s misguided push to have the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like a public utility under telephone and railroad laws drafted in the 1930s – long before the Internet (or computers, for that matter) was even invented.

 


November 21st, 2014 at 9:09 am
Podcast: Don’t Let IRS Off the Hook
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht discusses a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit filed by True the Vote against the Internal Revenue Service for targeting the conservative organization and improperly delaying its application for tax-exempt status, how liberals are attempting to silence their critics, and the status of election integrity.

Listen to the interview here.


November 20th, 2014 at 8:19 pm
McCarthy on Amnesty: Obama Perverts Prosecutorial Discretion
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Who better than a former federal prosecutor to judge whether President Barack Obama can unilaterally impose amnesty for illegal immigrants via “prosecutorial discretion”?

Andrew C. McCarthy, now a contributor at National Review, explains: “Prosecutorial discretion means you are not required to prosecute every crime”, but it “does not mean that those crimes the executive chooses not to enforce are now no longer crimes.”

Yet that’s just what President Obama is proposing.

“He is claiming not only the power to determine what immigration laws get enforced and which illegal immigrants get prosecuted – power he unquestionably has,” writes McCarthy. The president, “also claims the power to declare (a) that criminal acts are somehow lawful – that illegal aliens now have a right to be here – just because Obama has chosen not to prosecute them; and (b) that those who engage in this unprosecuted activity will be rewarded with benefits (lawful presence, relief from deportation, work permits, etc.), as if their illegal acts were valuable community service.”

In other words, Obama’s amnesty perverts prosecutorial discretion beyond recognition.

Next up: Consequences?


November 20th, 2014 at 7:49 pm
HHS Caught Padding ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Is anything the Obama administration says about ObamaCare worth believing?

“The Obama administration said it erroneously calculated the number of people with health coverage under [ObamaCare], incorrectly adding 380,000 dental subscribers to raise the total above 7 million,” reports Bloomberg.

The revelation came to light thanks to diligent work by House Oversight Committee investigators.

Bloomberg quotes Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell as saying, “The mistake we made is unacceptable,” but the news agency goes on to report HHS may have been intentionally misleading in its counts in the run-up to the midterm elections.

“Federal officials said in September they had 7.3 million people enrolled in coverage through new government-run insurance exchanges. They didn’t distinguish between medical and dental plans, breaking from previous practice without notice.” (Emphasis mine)

Along with the Grubergate deceptions, it’s hard to believe that HHS did anything other the deliberately fudge the numbers to help ObamaCare (barely) meet a previous CBO projection. Falling below that threshold would surely have been an embarrassment to the Obama administration, so someone at HHS just changed the rules so the home team could win.

Sounds similar to the president’s approach to immigration, doesn’t it?


November 20th, 2014 at 4:57 pm
GruberGate: All You Need to Know About the Jonathan Gruber Controversy In a Single Two-Minute Video
Posted by Jeff Mazzella Print

At the pace with which new videos continue to surface of ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber insulting American voters and exposing the Administration’s legal and deceitful public relations case for the president’s signature health care law, it truly is hard to keep up. 

Therefore, a big thank you is in order to the good folks at American Commitment, the organization that released the first Gruber video, for compiling everything you need to know about GruberGate, including Mr. Gruber’s most controversial comments – all in this in one handy two-minute video.


November 20th, 2014 at 10:50 am
In His Own Words: Obama Calls Executive Action on Immigration “Illegal” – 25 Times!
Posted by Jeff Mazzella Print

There has been no shortage of commentary in recent weeks and months addressing the illegality of President Obama’s planned executive action on immigration.  Even Obama himself, despite his plans to announce a sweeping new executive order on immigration tonight on prime-time television, has argued that circumventing Congress and acting unilaterally would be illegal.

In fact, Fox News’ “The Kelly File” dug up some 25 instances in which Obama said so on camera over the last several years. 

Watch the video here.


November 20th, 2014 at 9:49 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Environmental Extremism
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


November 19th, 2014 at 7:52 pm
Obama Readies Immigration Announcement
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Thursday, November 20, 2014, could be a day of infamy if President Barack Obama follows through on indications he will act on his own to give some form of legal status to as many as five million illegal immigrants.

Some conservatives say liberals can’t defend Obama’s lawless action, but there is no consensus among the former on what to do if the president intentionally violates his duty to faithfully execute the law.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) calls on his fellow Republicans not to “confirm a single nominee – executive or judicial – outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.”

Charles Cooke of National Review cautions against adopting The Obama Rule – picking and choosing which law a president will enforce – when the GOP next controls the White House. Among other things, doing so would forever obliterate the Republican claim to defend the Constitution and the principles it preserves.

Of course, all of this could be avoided if a certain former constitutional law professor would step back from the precipice. A little self-restraint would go a long way toward reestablishing appropriate boundaries on what the most powerful man in the world can, and cannot, do.

If so, then tomorrow won’t go down as the day The Obama Rule officially replaced the Rule of Law.


November 18th, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Ahead of SCOTUS Challenge, HHS Murky on State-Based Exchange Definition
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

With its surprising decision to hear oral argument on an ObamaCare subsidy challenge next spring, the Supreme Court of the United States is causing a flurry of activity as some states try to shore up their status ahead of a potentially costly decision.

“The consulting firm Avalere Health estimates that nearly 5 million people would see their premiums spike 76 percent, on average, if the Supreme Court strikes down subsidies in states that don’t operate their own exchanges,” reports Governing. “That estimate assumes a greater number of exchanges are considered federal, not state-based, but the question of what exactly constitutes a ‘state-based’ health exchange is murky.”

How murky?

“States have the option of running their own exchange completely (a state-based exchange), managing aspects of plan design or consumer outreach (a partnership exchange) or leaving everything to the federal government (a federally facilitated exchange),” according to the website.

Predictably, the federal Department of Health and Human Services isn’t divulging its exact criteria for categorizing an exchange, a stance that leaves states without a clear picture of how to prepare for a possible elimination of subsidies to residents.

Some states, like Nevada and Oregon that switched to Healthcare.gov – the federal website – are still considered to have state-based exchanges because they retain control over functions like plan approval, data collection and quality reporting. Others, like Utah and Mississippi, also fall into the state-based category because they host small business exchanges (but not individual exchanges).

So, the bottom line appears to be this: If the Supreme Court axes ObamaCare subsidies per the law’s text and intent, there’s a good chance President Barack Obama’s political appointees will engage in verbal gymnastics to find ways to define “state-based exchanges” in whatever manner best suits them.

No matter. Getting something fundamentally better than ObamaCare isn’t the Supreme Court’s job anyway. Best to pocket the subsidy win if it comes and work toward a policy consensus among the political branches that delivers real reform.


November 18th, 2014 at 9:12 am
Speaking of Illegal
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


November 17th, 2014 at 3:42 pm
Gallup: New High in Public Disapproval of ObamaCare
Posted by Ashton Ellis Print

Fifty-six percent of Americans disapprove of ObamaCare, the highest number disapproving of the controversial health care law since Gallup began asking the question.

Approval of ObamaCare peaked just before the 2012 presidential election, but has cratered since then.

The culprit is reality.

The beginning of ObamaCare’s nosedive in popularity “occurred in early November 2013”, according to Gallup’s analysis, “shortly after millions of Americans received notices that their current policies were being canceled, which was at odds with President Barack Obama’s pledge that those who liked their plans could keep them. The president later said, by way of clarification, that Americans could keep their plans if those plans didn’t change after [ObamaCare] was passed.”

In other words, the law has continued to grow less popular with each new revelation that it was sold on a pack of lies.

Though completely repealing the entire law seems unlikely because the new Republican Senate majority is less than the number needed to overcome a certain Obama veto, the increasing levels of voter disapproval could convince some Senate Democrats to join Republicans in dismantling large parts.

Unless, that is, they want to risk involuntary retirement when their next election arrives.


November 14th, 2014 at 3:39 pm
WhereToWatch.com – New Search Tool Locates Films and Shows on Legal Sites
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

We’ve written extensively on the destructive nature of illegal online piracy, as well as various market and legal avenues to combat it.

In positive news this week, the Motion Picture Association of America launched WhereToWatch.com, a one-stop-shop for consumers to locate legal sites for their favorite films and television shows.  Visitors to the site can (1) search for films and shows on digital downloading and streaming sites, as well as at stores and kiosks;  (2) quickly and easily find theater times and locations for new movies;  (3) watch trailers and access original behind-the-scenes content;  and (4) create settings to receive alerts when movies and shows they want become available from various providers.

Studies show that almost 95% of popular films and shows are already legally available for viewing, via over 100 legal online services across the U.S. Accordingly, there’s simply no need or excuse for anyone to steal the films or TV shows they enjoy on illegal sites, when legal alternatives are now so readily available.

In that vein, WhereToWatch.com offers a welcome innovation.