Monday, October 16, 2017

The Trump Effect: Record High Stock Market And Consumer Sentiment!

Update From The National Diversity Coalition for Trump

When the markets closed on a record high Thursday, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that it was the longest streak of record closes in twenty years!
According to a University of Michigan survey reported in Bloomberg news: "U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly surged to a 13-year high as Americans’ perceptions of the economy and their own finances rebounded following several major hurricanes."
  • The sentiment index rose to 101.1, highest since Jan. 2004!
  •  The current conditions gauge, which measures Americans’ perceptions of their finances, jumped to 116.4, highest since Nov. 2000!
  • The survey’s expectations measure increased to 91.3, highest since Jan. 2004!

GREAT things are happening in our country and in our government.  



OMB Director Mick Mulvaney was on CNN this weekend, correcting the record on CSR payments. His full interview is here, but among the highlights:  

  • CSR payments are not payments to “folks” or to “constituents” but to billion dollar insurance companies:
    • “If you follow the money here, which is what we do at the Office of Management and Budget, are checks from the Treasury to some of the largest health insurance companies in the country… This was not a subsidy to you or me or anyone else.”
    • “I cannot believe that Nancy Pelosi was just on your screen there defending bailout payments to large corporations. Typically the Democrats are against that.”
    • “The President doesn't want to write a check of your and my tax money to these large health insurance companies that are making hundreds of millions of dollars.” 
  • But don’t CSR payments keep premiums low for individuals? Nope. Insurance companies are contracted by law to keep premiums at certain levels:
    • “And those companies are already required by law to keep the premiums at a certain level. What this was, was essentially a pay-off to the insurance companies to support Obamacare in the first place back if 2009/2010.”
  • Moreover, the insurance companies had already priced-in the risk of losing CSR payments:
    • “Most of the insurance companies who filed their proposed rates for next year have already assumed these payments are not being made. There is not going to be any additional [premium] increase.”
  • Not to mention the payments are UNCONSTITUTIONAL in that they were never appropriated by Congress:
    • “The Department of Justice came out with a letter earlier this week, said they can no longer defend the Obama position these are legal payments and we had to stop them.”
  • It’s not that the President wants Obamacare to fail, the fact of the matter is, it is failing:
    • “I think the president, along with most of us, know that Obamacare is failing on its own and didn't need any help to do so. We've made this decision because it was bad policy.”
  • “On health carethe President's interested in making this system better. We call that repeal and replace. It's what we want to do. If anybody wants to help us do that, that's fine.”
  • In the meantime, the President signed an Executive Order this week which will help lower premiums and bring back choice within the marketplace
    • “The president took sweeping actions to lower premium for millions of Americans. The Associated Health Plans, the short-term limited plans, other things we're doing in the executive order will dramatically lower problems on folks.”

Make America Great Again!
Darrell Scott - CEO
Michael Cohen - Chair
Christos Marafatsos - Vice Chair
Bruce LeVell, Executive Director
National Diversity Coalition for Trump

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Left’ War On Boys: Radical Feminists Force The Boy Scouts To Admit Girls


By Frances Rice
Liberals have waged a decades-long war on boys and men in this country, with the latest assault being accusing men of “toxic masculinity” as described in the article, “Houston Rescuers Prove the Lie of ‘Toxic Masculinity.’ “
The announcement that the Boy Scouts of America has caved to the demands of radical feminists and will now admit girls is the latest liberal termite that’s now eating away at our nation’s cultural foundation.
It won’t be long before the Boy Scouts of America will become female-centric, like our colleges and universities. Young boys will be infused with self-hatred and indoctrinated to believe the nonsense being spewed out by liberals as pointed out in the above article: “If we are ever to create a nonviolent, truly gender-equal world, we must rip away the false, culturally constructed fa├žade of masculinity”.
This is not going to end well.

Boy Scouts to accept girls? Thanks but no thanks, respond many involved in Girl Scouts
By Eseosa Olumhense and Kate Thayer

The members of Maureen Riordan’s Girl Scout troop have experienced everything from rafting Colorado waters and zip-lining to computer coding, career planning and pottery.

So the Lincoln Park mother says she was confused and disappointed when the Boy Scouts of America announced days ago that it will begin to admit girls next year in an effort to provide its benefits to both genders.
“What I’m hearing is girls don’t get the same opportunities,” said Riordan, who leads both her 12- and 9-year-old daughters’ troops and was herself a Girl Scout. “I couldn’t disagree more.”
With news of the Boy Scouts’ policy shift, national and regional Girl Scouts officials, as well as some of the local families they serve, have criticized the move, saying the Girl Scouts already offer a full range of activities to girls and do so in an empowering, confidence-boosting setting.
“We have research that shows girls really do thrive in an all-girl environment,” said L’Oreal Payton, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “It’s a safe space for a girl to be a girl.”
Other critics of the change say they simply want the Boy Scouts to remain only for boys.
The latest shift has created strife between the two scouting organizations, with Girl Scouts officials claiming the Boy Scouts are making the change as a revenue grab, possibly because of dwindling enrollment and financial woes from payouts over sex abuse claims.
Boy Scouts officials say the shift is not financially motivated but rather a response to requests from parents. The move is the latest in a number of changes for the group in the past several years, including allowing in gay members and volunteers.
“This is not about a decline in membership,” said Kate Jacobs, spokeswoman for the Pathway to Adventure Council, which oversees Boy Scouts activities in the Chicago area and northwest Indiana. The council is the largest in the state and growing, she said, with nearly 24,000 youth members.
Girls have already been part of the Boy Scouts through coed activities offered since 1971, the organization said. Given this history, opening membership to girls formally was a “natural next step,” Jacobs said.
Some local families connected to scouting are wary.
“I understand what the Boy Scouts are trying to do,” said Wendy Lundgren, a Girl Scout troop leader from Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood. “But if there is something lacking in the Girl Scout program, they need to work on enhancing that. It’s very condescending for the Boy Scouts to say ‘Hey, we’re better, join us.’ ”
Lundgren has a daughter in Girl Scouts and two sons who are Boy Scouts. At a scout meeting in a Jefferson Park church Thursday evening, she and others raised concerns that the move would change both programs, to the detriment of participants.
Among those displeased with the announcement was 99-year-old Boy Scout volunteer Russ Gremel.
“Believe me when I tell you, it would be horrible,” Gremel said. “Men and women are equal, but not the same.”
Gremel is something of a legendary figure in local scouting circles, having served more than 60 years as scoutmaster for Troop 979 , for which he still volunteers.
Gremel said it’s “hard enough” to plan events just for boys, and adding girls to activities and outings would complicate things for scoutmasters and other volunteers.
“If they allow girls in this group, I will drop out of Scouts completely,” Gremel said.
In fact, Boy Scouts officials said troops will remain single-gender. According to the announced plans, starting next year Cub Scout packs for ages 7 to 10 can be all-boys or all-girls, with the option of a coed pack with girls and boys dens.
A new program for girls aged 11 to 17, which will use the same curriculum as Boy Scouts and allow girls to earn the top rank of Eagle Scout, is expected to be in place around 2019.
But some confusion has arisen because the announcement is so fresh, some Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders at Thursday’s meeting said. One assistant scoutmaster said he only learned of the plan through the news. Without knowing exactly how it would be implemented, or how their roles might change, many felt the development could overwhelm program volunteers.
The Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana boasts nearly 53,000 youth members this year, though the chapter has seen a decline from more than 69,000 girls enrolled in 2013, a trend Payton said has been seen across most youth service organizations in recent years. Nationally, both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have reported declines over the past year.
Riordan, the troop leader from Lincoln Park, said she hasn’t heard of any Girl Scouts wanting to switch over to the Boy Scouts program, but wondered if some families might do so for convenience if they have both a son and a daughter interested in scouting.
Rosa Garcia, another Chicago Girl Scout parent, said she’s not convinced the new Boy Scouts girl track would have provided her daughter with the same experience.
“If she did (scouts) with boys, would she have had the same voice in that setting? It’s nice it’s focused on girls — allowing girls to be girls without having to compete with boys,” she said.
Garcia’s daughter, Allyson Rodriguez, 15, said she’s participated in robotics events, done community service work and learned about engineering careers during her 10 years as a Girl Scout.
“It’s a nice gesture,” Rodriguez said of the Boy Scouts welcoming girls, “but I feel like there’s already opportunities for girls.”
At the Jefferson Park scout meeting, some of the younger people present seemed to embrace the change.
“When do the girls get here?” one Boy Scout was heard saying at the start of the meeting.
Annali Martinez, 8, of Albany Park, said the announcement meant her “dream has come true.” Annali has been informally joining her brother Jayden, 9, at his Cub Scout meetings for about a year after leaving a Girl Scout troop, their mother said. The Boy Scouts’ activities were more appealing, more adventurous, Annali said. Among her favorite things: arts, crafts and playing dodgeball.
“And being included,” her brother added.

Phil Velasquez / Chicago TribMaureen Riordan, center, 12-year-old Megan, left, and Kelsey, 9, on Oct. 11, 2017, in their Lincoln Park home. Riordan leads both of her daughter's Girl Scout troops at Oscar Mayer schoMaureen Riordan, center, 12-year-old Megan, left, and Kelsey, 9, on Oct. 11, 2017, in their Lincoln Park home. Riordan leads both of her daughter's Girl Scout troops at Oscar Mayer school in Lincoln Park. (Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune)

The Associated Press contributed.

Harvey Weinstein and the silence of the civil rights group

By Paul Mirengoff

We have noted the reluctance of major Democrats to speak out against Harvey Weinstein, the serial sexual harasser and alleged rapist. As John wrote:
Hillary Clinton, whom Weinstein supported heavily, remained silent until Tuesday, October 10, when she claimed to be appalled by the revelations that have come out about Weinstein. About which, of course, she had no idea until now. Barack Obama maintained his silence even longer and, belatedly, the Obamas finally put out a typically self-righteous statement denouncing their former friend Weinstein.
What about the nation’s leading “civil rights” groups — e.g., the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center? Have they joined Mrs. Clinton and the Obamas in condemning, however belatedly, Weinstein’s longstanding and egregious denial of civil rights to the women of Hollywood?

Not as far as I’ve been able to discern (though I’d be happy to stand corrected).
While turning a blind eye to blatant and nauseating sex discrimination in the highest reaches of a major U.S. industry, these groups have vociferously denounced a number of President Trump’s nominees.
Examples include Amy Barrett (nominated to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals), Eric Dreiband (nominated to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department), and Janet Dhillon and Daniel Gade (nominated to serve as EEOC commissioners).
It is normal for these groups to take a major interest in nominees to the positions in question. But it is irresponsible of them to make unfounded accusations against such nominees.
Consider the case of Eric Dreiband (full disclosure, a friend). Various “civil rights” groups, including those cited above, have attacked Eric for alleged opposition to women’s rights, in particular equal pay for women.
These claims are baseless. During his tenure as General Counsel of the EEOC (during the fiscal years ending 2003, 2004, and 2005), Eric personally hammered out settlements that resulted in large monetary awards for women. For example, EEOC v. Morgan Stanley produced a settlement of $54 million and significant injunctive relief for women. Other examples can be found here, here, here, and elsewhere in EEOC press releases.
In addition, cases Eric filed during his tenure resulted in large awards after he left the Commission. EEOC v. Sidley & Austin, for example, an age discrimination case against a major law firm, settled for $27.5 million. (Barack Obama’s former law firm helped mediate the case) EEOC statistics show that during Eric’s tenure the Commission brought more cases, including ones alleging violation of the Equal Pay Act, than is its historical norm — both before and since.
Under Eric, the EEOC also participated as amicus in support of women alleging sex discrimination, including cases before the Supreme Court (in these cases the Solicitor General filed the brief). Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders is an example.
Opposition to Eric’s nomination is based in part on positions he took on behalf of clients after he left the EEOC. (I addressed other criticisms of Eric in this post). Obviously, though, Eric’s work as the top civil rights lawyer for the EEOC is far more indicative of how he will act as the top civil rights lawyer at the Justice Department.
Eric does not, of course, embrace every legal position pushed by liberal civil rights groups. But he has demonstrated the willingness and ability to enforce aggressively the laws that protect women from unequal treatment, including sexual harassment.
It would be nice if the civil rights groups that hammer Eric and other well-qualified Trump nominees would denounce Harvey Weinstein for his systematic harassment of women.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

It's Official: Democrats Are The Extremists Today

Investor’s Business Daily

Partisanship: Everyone knows that the country is more politically polarized than ever, but most don't know why.
Data from the highly respected Pew Research Center provides a definitive answer. It's because Democrats have moved sharply to the extreme left.
The Pew report — titled "The Partisan Divide on Political Values Grows Even Wider" — is the latest in a decades-long series of surveys it has conducted to gauge people's views on various key issues, including the size of government, immigration, corporate profits, race relations.
The authors of the report note the "divisions between Republicans and Democrats on fundamental political values ... reached record levels during Barack Obama's presidency. In Donald Trump's first year as president, these gaps have grown even larger."
Given the way politics gets reported these days, it's easy to conclude that the widening gap is the result of Republicans become more extreme in their views.
That is, after all, a mantra among Democrats and the press.
The GOP is the party of racist, sexist, xenophobic, right-wing extremists, we hear over and over again, while Democrats are but humble centrists.
The Pew data, however, make it clear that the shift toward the extreme has happened among Democrats, not Republicans.

This can be seen in dramatic fashion when you look at where the center of each party was in 1994, and where it is today.

Pew used a 10-item scale of political values to determine ideological purity among those who claim affiliation with the two parties.

The results show that while the Republican center moved only slightly to the right over the past 23 years, the center of Democratic part shifted far to the left. (See the nearby chart.)

Take a look at specific value questions Pew asks and you can see why.
Pew asks, for example, whether poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return. In 1994, 63% of Republicans agreed with this sentiment, as did 44% of Democrats.
This year, 65% of Republicans agreed — a 2-point increase — while just 18% of Democrats did — a 26-point drop.
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Democrats used to believe that most people who want to get ahead can do so if they work hard.
Today, just 45% of Democrats believe this.
Among Republicans, the change was negligible — it went from 73% in 1994 to 77% today.
How about the question of whether racial discrimination is the "main reason many black people can't get ahead these days"?
In 1994, just 39% of Democrats and 26% of Republicans felt this way.
That was 14 years before the U.S. elected a black president.
Now, after eight years of Obama in the White House, 64% of Democrats say racism is the main reason blacks can't get ahead, while 14% of Republicans do.
National defense?
Back in 1994, 44% of Republicans said the best way to secure peace was through military strength. Today, that figure is 53% — an increase of 9 points.
But on the Democratic side, the share who agreed with "peace through strength" dropped from 28% to 13% — a 15-point drop.
Pew also asked whether "corporations make too much profit."
In 1994, the gap between Democrats and Republicans on this issue was 18 percentage points.
Today, it's 30 points.
In this case, the entire increase in the gap came from Democrats. While 61% of them said in 1994 that corporations make too much money, 73% now feel that way.
There's been no change on the Republicans side —  it's remained at 43%.
One issue where Republicans shifted further out to the edge than Democrats was on whether environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy.
But on one big social issue, Republicans have become far more moderate over the years.
The Pew survey asks whether homosexuality should be discouraged by society.
In 1994, 58% of Republicans and 42% of Democrats said it should.
By 2017, the share of Republicans who felt that way dropped 21 points, in tandem with the decline among Democrats.
Of course, if you want to see how extreme Democrats have become, all you need to do is look at who is now considered the soul of the party — far-left liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren — or the fact that a substantial number of Democratic lawmakers have signed onto Bernie Sanders' radical "Medicare for all" plan.
Meanwhile, conservatives couldn't even muster a majority of Republicans in the Senate to repeal ObamaCare.
Democrats and their water carriers in the press are like people on a boat that is drifting off to sea, but are convinced that it's the land that's moving, not them.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Bravo: Trump Makes Three Correct, Controversial Decisions on Obamacare, Iran and the UN

By Guy Benson

The Trump administration is facing searing criticism over a trio of significant decisions this week, all of which are eminently defensible, if not entirely correct.

(1) On Obamacare's cost sharing subsidies, an issue we touched on  a number of weeks ago, the president has decided to cease making payments of dollars that were never appropriated by Congress -- a task for which they are solely responsible under the constitution.
When the legislative branch failed to approve bailout-style "cost sharing" dollars to be paid to insurers to mitigate their financial losses associated with covering consumers with costly pre-existing conditions (which weren't sufficiently offset by an influx of young, healthy people willing to overpay for coverage), President Obama started paying out those funds unilaterally.
The House of Representatives, then led by Speaker John Boehner, sued in federal court -- and won.
Obama's payouts were illegal, the court ruled, agreeing with House Republicans' legal argument.
With the Trump administration announcement that they are ceasing those payments, all three branches of the federal government have now affirmed that the previous White House's actions were unlawful.
This is really all you need to know.
It is undeniable that this move will severely disrupt the individual healthcare market in America, and that providers will move en masse toward even larger premium increases to compensate for the additional red ink they're now highly likely to incur.
This is a profoundly negative policy outcome that will exacerbate already-serious financial stresses and dysfunction caused by Obamacare's failing structure.
These fundamental flaws and spiraling dynamics predate Donald Trump, and cannot be accurately pinned on Republican "saboteurs."
If left unaddressed, the cessation of CSR's will make things worse.
Meanwhile, Republicans have failed to 'repeal and replace' the law in its entirety, as they promised to do for seven years.
The president's executive order on healthcare regulations unveiled this week (about which I have some constitutional doubts) may tinker around the edges to help some people currently priced out of Obamacare, but it's hardly a sweeping solution.
With the unconstitutionally-allocated CSR's getting the axe, the GOP-held Congress now faces a dilemma: Properly appropriate those funds, which were authorized in Obamacare (which Obamacare opponents will decry as propping up a harmful law that's hurting people), or let costs spike much higher than they already have (which Obamacare proponents will cast as undermining the law and hurting people).
Thanks to their repeal face-plants, Congressional Republicans' least bad remaining option appears to be shepherding through a "fix" for the broken law that restores these stabilizing pay-offs to insurers in exchange for some modest reforms.
Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray have been working on the contours of such a bill for some time now.
Just as with DACA, Congress must act to prevent unjust and harmful outcomes from taking effect after illegal Obama power-grabs disappear.
But also just as with DACA, this is the job of Congress, not the executive branch.
Obama's policy was against the law. We are a nation of laws.
Thus, the Trump administration is absolutely right to respect the rule of law.
Republicans and Democrats are now -- rightly -- in charge of cleaning up the mess that Democrats made with their shoddy law, which they built and sold on lies.  They should do their job.
(2) Speaking of lies, next up is the Iran deal.
The Trump administration has elected not to pull out of Obama's unilateral Iran nuclear deal, which was opposed by substantial bipartisan majorities in Congress.
Rather than exiting the agreement entirely, the White House declined to certify that it's in the United States' interests and rolled out a new policy posture toward Iran on a number of fronts.
The US government will also pursue a tougher line against the world's top state sponsor of international terrorism, including significant strengthening of Western-imposed restrictions on Iran's once-rogue nuclear program (which Obama legitimized).
One of the most egregious flaws of the Iran deal was that its limits against Iranian nuclearization automatically sunset over a time horizon of 10-15 years, meaning that even if Tehran doesn't cheat (various intel reports suggest that they have been cheating, as they always do), they could just wait out the clock until key restrictions expire.
Even Obama has effectively conceded that Iran could become a threshold nuclear-armed state once those provisions go away.
Team Trump and Congressional Republicans are now weighing plans that would nix those indefensible and reckless expiration dates.
If the United States is going to remain a party to this lopsided accord, it must become less lopsided.
If the Iranians are telling the truth (heh) that their nuclear program is purely peaceful and not intended to develop weapons (heh heh), they should have no objection to the extension of restrictions to which they've already agreed.
The new policy is less accommodating of the anti-American regime, it seeks to expand the duration of crucial restrictions, it emphasizes vigilant enforcement, and takes additional concrete steps against some of Iran's worst actors.
It strikes an acceptable balance between the forces within the administration who wanted the president to decertify Obama's bad deal altogether, and those -- including Gen. Mattis -- who wanted to keep the framework intact.
Lawmakers should not accept the Obama-crafted status quo as US policy.
It was never stable US policy, which Obama guaranteed by bypassing Congress, knowing he lacked support on Capitol Hill.
(3) Some internationalists aren't pleased with the Trump administration's withdrawal from participation in UNESCO, the United Nations' "Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organization."
The US pulled out, along with Israel, citing the group's cartoonish and unending affronts against the Jewish State:
State Department officials said they hope the withdrawal will  help push UNESCO to make changes that would satisfy Washington so the U.S. can resume full membership...“It sends a strong message that we need to see fundamental reform in the organization, and it raises everyone’s awareness about continued anti-Israel bias,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity under department ground rules...Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the last straw was when UNESCO this summer designated the old city of Hebron in the West Bank, with its Tomb of the Patriarchs, a Palestinian World Heritage site...Calling UNESCO’s politicization a “chronic embarrassment,” Haley added, “Just as we said in 1984 when President Reagan withdrew from UNESCO, U.S. taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense.”
Cuba's delegation objecting to a moment of silence for Holocaust victims, to rousing applause. Disgusting.
The US' departure from this disgraceful clown show was long overdue.
May the $600 million we "owe" UNESCO never be repaid, until and unless the organization's anti-Israel histrionics are put to an end.
This statement is a refreshing change from the groveling Obama era of "Smart Power."

Trump Was Right to End Unconstitutional Obamacare Subsidies

By David French

They were never lawful because Congress never appropriated the money.

It’s a sad sign of our times that the constitutionality of any given government action is now seen as a wholly secondary consideration, subordinate to politics and arguments about politics. And so it is with Donald Trump’s necessary decision to halt federal payments of cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies.
For example, here’s how the Washington Post led off its coverage of Trump’s decision: “President Trump is throwing a bomb into the insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act, choosing to end critical payments to health insurers that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage.”
The New York Times headlined its article with the declaration “Trump to scrap critical health care subsidies, hitting Obamacare again.” But that’s not exactly right. In reality, the Constitution scraps Obama’s subsidies. They were never lawful because Congress never appropriated the money. Here’s the legal background.

Section 1402 of Obamacare requires insurance companies to reduce deductibles, copayments, and other similar payments for lower-income consumers and then says that the federal government will reimburse the insurers for their losses. Specifically, insurers will notify the federal government of the amount of their price reductions, and the government will “make periodic and timely payments to the insurer equal to the value of the reductions.”
Clear enough? There was just one problem. Unlike other provisions of Obamacare covering other forms of subsidies (for example, Section 1401, which funded subsidies that helped cover insurance premiums), the law didn’t specifically appropriate any money to fund these payments.
This isn’t a small thing. In fact, it implicates the core constitutional structure of our government. Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution unambiguously declares that “no Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by law.” The most relevant federal appropriations statute states quite clearly that “a law may be construed to make an appropriation out of the Treasury . . . only if the law specifically states that an appropriation is made.”
 In fact, there is unmistakeable evidence that President Obama knew that his administration needed a specific appropriation to fund Section 1402 subsidies — he asked Congress for the money. Congress said no. It didn’t appropriate a single dime. So Obama did what he did best: He “penned and phoned” the subsidies into existence. He directly violated the Constitution by spending the money anyway.
The House of Representatives sued, and on May 12, 2016, federal district court judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in the House’s favor and held that the Obama administration’s payments were unlawful. Her opinion reads like a 38-page civics lesson, but for all its length the court’s core holding is simple: “The Affordable Care Act unambiguously appropriates money for Section 1401 premium tax credits but not for Section 1402 reimbursements to insurers. Such an appropriation cannot be inferred.”
The Obama administration argued that blocking the payments would lead to “absurd economic, fiscal, and healthcare-policy results.” The judge’s response was constitutionally and legally sound:
 The only result of the ACA, however, is that the Section 1402 reimbursements must be funded annually. Far from absurd, that is a perfectly valid means of appropriation. The results predicted by the [administration] flow not from the ACA, but from Congress’ subsequent refusal to appropriate money.
In other words, if you have a problem with the lack of appropriation, take it up with the House and Senate.
Technocrats of all ideological stripes consistently find the Constitution frustrating. If it weren’t for that pesky document, our benevolent dictators could all pen and phone their way to utopia. But there are good reasons for leaving appropriations to Congress. As Josh Blackman reminded us in an outstanding and comprehensive piece in National Review Online last year, James Madison wrote in Federalist 58 that “this power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people.”
Every two years we elect the entire House and one-third of the Senate. There is thus a constant potential check on government expenditures. The fact that Congress rarely checks that spending makes its power no less legally real nor any less constitutionally necessary. And, by the way, judges do not exist to correct subjectively determined deficiencies in the elected branches’ policy-making.
While there are many reasons to complain about the Trump administration’s approach to the Constitution, his decision to end illegal subsidies is exactly right. If defenders of Obamacare want to blame anyone, they can blame their own side. When Democrats controlled the government and could fashion the law how they liked, they provided for annual appropriations. That was their decision. If they want to “fix” that law now, they can either make a deal or win elections. Continuing to violate the Constitution, however, is not a viable choice.

 Trump Carves Out More Religious Exemptions in Obama's Contraceptive Mandate
 By Cortney O'Brien

Little Sisters of the Poor sued the Obama administration and went to the Supreme Court.

The Trump administration has rolled back another Obama-era regulation. No longer will employers be forced to provide contraception coverage under their health plans, freeing them from violating their religious consciences. The Department of Health and Human Services issued the new rules Friday.

The rules would let a broad range of employers -- including nonprofits, private firms and publicly traded companies -- stop offering free contraceptives through their health insurance plans if they have a "sincerely held religious or moral objection," senior agency officials said on a call about the implementation and enforcement of the new rules.
This could apply to the roughly 200 entities that have participated in about 50 lawsuits over birth control coverage, according to the agency, which said that "99.9% of women" who currently receive birth control through the contraceptive mandate would not be affected. At the time of the call, it was unclear how the administration arrived at this data point.
Under President Obama, birth control was considered preventive care and had to be included on employees' health plans. The administration offered partial exemptions for religious nonprofit groups, but Trump's HHS has vastly broadened the opt out option.
Religious freedom advocates and pro-life groups are cheering Trump's announcement.
"Americans United for Life applauds the actions of the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that the right of conscientious employers and employees not to participate in or provide abortion-causing drugs is protected in law," AUL President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster said in a statement. "Millions of Americans want no part of an insurance system that subsidizes the destruction of innocent human life, and HHS’s new interim regulation respects that principled stand.”
The Catholic Association applauded Trump for protecting Americans from an overbearing government.
"Today’s action is more than regulatory relief for people of faith, it is a ray of sunshine signaling to faithful Americans that they need not fear government bullying like that endured by the Little Sisters of the Poor," the group said.
Little Sisters of the Poor, you'll remember, took the Obama administration to court over the law that would have violated their beliefs. Their case went all the way to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, as expected, feminist groups are decrying the decision and are accusing Trump of "turning back the clock."

Black Americans Need Bourgeois Norms

Frederick Douglass would have agreed with Amy Wax.

By Robert L. Woodson
This summer, law professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander caused a stir with an op-ed lamenting the decline of what they called “bourgeois norms.”

“All cultures are not equal,” they rightly observed.

Those that encourage self-restraint, delayed gratification, marriage and a strong work ethic tend to thrive.

Those that tolerate or excuse substance abuse, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and dropping out tend to break down.

For more details about the ill effects of the cultural breakdown in black communities, click here to view the video: “The State of Civil Rights in AmericaToday.”

Frederick Douglass, circa 1866. Photo: The Granger Collection
Ms. Wax and Mr. Alexander were instantly accused of racism by the growing army of angry academics who police the prevailing narrative of black victimhood.

According to this narrative, black progress is determined not by personal choices and individual behavior, but by white supremacy, America’s history of slavery and discrimination, and institutional racism. Touting “bourgeois values” is interpreted as an offense against authentic black culture.

The assumptions underlying this narrative bring to mind Frederick Douglass’s description of slaveholding whites, some of whom gave their slaves time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day—and enough alcohol to keep them drunk the whole time.
“Many of us were led to think that there was little to choose between liberty and slavery,” Douglass wrote. “We had almost as well be slaves to man as to rum.” When the holidays ended, the hung over slaves happily returned to the fields, desperate to get away “from what our master had deceived us into a belief was freedom.”
According to Douglass, some slaves chose not to spend their holidays drunk, but to engage instead in constructive activities like visiting family, hiring themselves out, or engaging in recreation.
Even under slavery, the differences in culture and behavior celebrated by Ms. Wax and Mr. Alexander had potency for blacks.
Nothing was more of a threat to the whole rotten institution than a self-disciplined slave who walked with dignity in the face of mistreatment.
A better life has always been available to those who reject undisciplined and irresponsible behavior, and embrace self-determination and personal responsibility.
So-called bourgeois values have always empowered blacks to persevere and overcome bitter oppression. They provided the moral “glue” that held the black community together during the hardest of times.
The life-affirming values that enabled Douglass and others to survive retain their potency in the 21st century.
Hundreds of examples of achievement against the odds prove this point.
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In cities around the country, activists like Bertha Gilkey have ousted drug dealers from public housing projects, transformed their communities, and sent hundreds of young people to college.
Neighborhood moral mentors and character coaches from Washington, D.C., to Milwaukee have changed the behavior, attitudes and life trajectories of once-violent gang members.
Today, the race grievance industry declares that what constitutes “normal” for blacks is different than what constitutes “normal” for whites. In the same way, 19th-century slaveholders assumed that idle drunkenness was the hallmark of authentic black culture.
Mr. Woodson is founder and president of the Woodson Center.