Thursday, June 28, 2012

ObamaCare ruling grants unprecedented government intrusion and tax on personal behavior

Those who don't understand what happened today in the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on ObamaCare are celebrating the decision. What they don't know is that the ruling is a monstrous disaster and a huge blow to the constitutional principle of limited government and personal freedom.

Essentially what happened is that the Court ruled that Congress does not have the right to make Americans buy something under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, but that Congress can compel us to buy something under the tax code. What the liberal-acting justices on the Court did today was change the Constitution, allow for the most massive tax hike in history and worse, by doing so, set a catastrophic precedent. Congress now has the unlimited authority to tax you on everything, including - and most alarmingly - your behavior.

According to today's ruling, Americans don't have to purchase health insurance, but if they don't buy it, they will be taxed for their inactivity. With the ruling, the federal government can tell us what it wants us to purchase, and it doesn't have to be relevant to healthcare. It can be an electric car, solar panels, energy efficient refrigerators, anything that would normally be left to our private decisions, in other words, our personal behavior. But if you don't buy items deemed necessary by the government, it now has, courtesy of the Supreme Court ruling, the power to tax you for not doing what it wants you to do. To make sure you pay, ObamaCare has authorized the hiring of at least 16,000 additional IRS agents to enforce the taxes on you.

Despite President Obama's claims that ObamaCare was not going to be a tax increase, it is indeed a massive tax increase, which the Supreme Court confirmed in today's ruling (watch this clip for Obama's flippant, finger-pointing denial that his healthcare plan is a tax increase). ObamaCare is estimated already to cost trillions of dollars to implement, while it is paid for through outrageously higher taxes and cuts to spending on programs, such as those that aid the elderly. With half a trillion dollars cut from Medicare to help fund ObamaCare, senior citizens are already reporting difficulty in getting access to doctor appointments because many doctors have simply stopped taking Medicare patients due to the funding restrictions.

People who think the ruling on ObamaCare ensures that previously uninsured people will now have health insurance are naive. Being forced to purchase insurance doesn't mean everyone can afford to do so. In fact, right now the "tax" for not carrying insurance is far less than the cost of a health policy. Many will simply choose to pay the tax over the insurance premium. Companies especially are very likely to select the tax fine over the costs of offering health benefits to their employees. As employees lose their health plans at work, they'll be forced to go to the state exchange at their local government office to purchase an approved health plan.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated this past March that if ObamaCare were to be upheld by the Supreme Court and not repealed by government, that at least 20 million employees will lose their health benefits through work. Some say this is a very conservative estimate at best.

Additionally, as the fines for not purchasing health insurance rise, as they are set to do incrementally over the years, companies - especially smaller companies - that can no longer afford the fines or the exorbitant health insurance costs will simply close down and many are scared to hire right now because of the vast rules, regulations and costs that come with ObamaCare. This is all part of ObamaCare's design to get people out of private health insurance and into the government-run type of healthcare -- and it also has a lot to do with why the economy continues to suffer.

As for those who cannot afford either the insurance premium or the fine, guess who will be paying for them through skyrocketing health premiums? Those with jobs - in other words - the rich (because by liberal standards, anyone with a job is considered rich). And with insurance companies now forced to absorb an additional 30 million subscribers, many of whom cannot afford it - your premiums will bear the brunt of all that added expense. Also keep in mind that, just because there will be an additional 30 million people entering the health market, it doesn't mean there will suddenly be a related increase in the number of doctors and health facilities available to accommodate all these new patients. Shortage of supply always results in higher costs - and in this case, longer waiting times to see a doctor.

Besides the extreme tax increase handed down by the Supreme Court's ruling today, those with certain moral beliefs have essentially been told to sit down and shut up. What is still intact in ObamaCare is the mandated abortion surcharge of at least $1; taxpayer funding for abortion training; the lack of solid conscience protection clauses for those who don't wish to perform abortions; the oversight committees who decide which health procedures are deemed cost-effective, which is code word for health rationalizing; the undermining of the doctor-patient relationship; and the horrible HHS mandate on contraception and abortifacients. And remember, the president and Congress made themselves exempt from the new healthcare law. If it's such a great thing for Americans, why did they make sure they don't have to follow it themselves?

Anyone thinking that ObamaCare is good for health or the economy need only look at Europe where they have tried similar government-directed healthcare with miserable results. Here, our premiums are expected to rise massively, spending on the program is unsustainable, especially when we are already trillions of dollars in debt, small businesses - the backbone of our economy - are scrambling to find ways to pay for ObamaCare, to the point of letting employees go, fewer people are going into the medical profession because of vast regulations - which will make health access harder to achieve, and the taxes we will all have to pay are stifling. ObamaCare does not improve healthcare or the economy - it threatens both in dire ways and today's ruling made it worse by giving government unheard-of powers to make us act in ways it deems fit.

The ruling is frightening in another way, too. Just this past Monday, President Obama thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court for allowing Arizona to check the immigration status of those suspected to be in this country illegally. To show his anger over that, he childishly told Arizona the federal government will not help them protect their border. Our national security is of little concern to Obama in comparison to his belief that he should get his way in all matters. No doubt he sees today's ruling as permission to do whatever he wants, although he has proven himself untrustworthy with any such power. Imagine how emboldened Obama will now be to push down our throats anything else he chooses.

Today's Court ruling was bad for America in serious ways. It vastly changed the relationship between the federal government and the individual. It expands government power in a jaw-dropping, incomprehensible way and is a huge and heavy blow to our freedom. Our Constitution is hanging on by a thread now that Chief Justice John Roberts bent over backwards to find a way to let the government intrude into our lives in any way it wants (four Justices ruled the entire act was unconstitutional, but Roberts did what he could to find a way around that by fictitiously claiming that behavior is a taxable thing).

This is why it is now up to us citizens to weave the hanging thread of our magnificent Constitution back into the fabric of a strong nation, one that believes in liberty, freedom and justice. We do that by stopping Obama and other liberals in November -- and make no mistake: it is crucial that we do so. We cannot rely on the Court to protect us from unjust laws, and we certainly cannot count on Obama to respect our laws and freedoms, for he prefers tyranny over individual rights - and with a second term to do what he pleases with no fear of having to be re-elected, it's a shuddering thought to consider what he might do. Since his 2008 campaign, Obama has expressed a desire to model America's economy and healthcare system on Europe - a continent all but broke, with middle class families now living as squatters. Only we can keep that from happening.

For the sake of our country's very existence as we know it, President Obama and the liberals in Congress must go. It's up to us to make sure that happens so we can have a hope of repealing ObamaCare and ultimately emerge from the ever-expanding, out-of-control, oppressive government thumb that is currently holding us down.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Federal government tells Arizona it's on its own in dealing with illegal immigration issue

The Supreme Court ruled today that Arizona may not impose its own penalties for immigration violations, but said state and local police can check the legal status of those they have reasonable suspicion are in the country illegally. So how did the Obama administration respond to this? It said it's suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police. In other words, Arizona is on its own in dealing with its immigration problem, yet is largely unable to enforce any immigration laws itself.
As reported in The Washington Times, "administration officials...told reporters they expect to see an increase in the number of calls they get from Arizona police — but that won’t change President Obama’s decision to limit who the government actually tries to detain and deport."

“We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities,” one official said in a telephone briefing.

The existing agreements that the administration today said they would no longer honor include the seven 287(g) task force agreements with Arizona law enforcement officials, which had granted some local police the powers to enforce immigration laws.

The task forces have proved popular among many localities, but have been a hassle for President Obama because illegal immigrants-rights groups have denounced them.

Justice Antonin Scalia felt that all provisions of the Arizona law in question (SB 1070) should have been upheld. In his dissent opinion he wrote, "Arizona bears the brunt of the country's illegal immigration problem. Its citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem, and indeed have recently shown that they are unwilling to do so."

Scalia went on to write, "The federal government does not want to enforce the immigration laws as written, and leaves the States' borders unprotected against immigrants whom those laws would exclude."

The Obama administration is happy with the Supreme Court's decision. But it's a pretty sad day when our federal government applauds the fact that a state has no right to enforce existing laws that the federal government refuses to enforce, and then pits itself against the citizens of our country in favor of people here illegally. But that's what happens when pandering for votes of a particular electorate is more important to a president than allowing a U.S. state to protect its borders and its citizens.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fast and Furious: What is President Obama hiding?

Eric Holder's Justice Department helped arm Mexican drug cartels through the botched sting known as Operation Fast and Furious. Ostensibly the objective was to find links between gun traffickers and drug cartels in Mexico. Under the program, at least 2,000 guns were allowed to be sold illegally to suspected thugs even though it was known most guns would be trafficked to Mexico, and possibly used for commissions of crime against U.S. citizens.

That is precisely what has happened. So far eleven crimes in the U.S. have been linked to Fast and Furious, including the killings of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata. At least two guns found at the crime scene of Terry's death were traced to guns supplied by the U.S. government through the Fast and Furious program, and another gun was traced to the program in Zapata's murder. In 2010, another 40 illegal firearms from the program were found in El Paso, TX. Meanwhile, Mexico's Attorney General said at least 200 Mexican citizens have been killed by guns obtained through Operation Fast and Furious.

A report released by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s office shows ATF agents working in Mexico were left in the dark about the details of Operation Fast and Furious. The report also shows that in late 2009, ATF officials began to see increasing amounts of guns traced to the Phoenix ATF Field Division office showing up at violent crime scenes. 

When these issues came to light, some then tried to blame the crimes and killings of the U.S. agents on loose gun laws in America and used the incident to try to justify the need to repeal the Second Amendment. It is outrageous that our own government under President Obama supplied the guns that were used in crimes against U.S. citizens and the incident is now being used to try to take away the right of all citizens to bear arms.

Issa launched an investigation into the matter, particularly to determine what - and when - President Obama's administration knew about all of this. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified in 2011 that he had nothing to do with the program and only "just recently learned of it two weeks prior" to testifying in 2011.

President Obama said he only heard of the Fast and Furious program on a television news program after the U.S. agents' deaths. He first spoke about the topic during an interview with Univision in March 2011 (yet Holder said he didn't "know" about the program until May 2011). Either there is very poor communication between the president and attorney general about major operations, or both are lying.

Since then Holder has been accused of lying under oath about when he knew of Operation Fast and Furious, and has been subpoenaed for documents that allegedly shine more light on the issue -- but he refuses to supply those documents. He now faces contempt charges.

Holder contacted Obama sometime yesterday asking him to invoke executive privilege to delay the turning over of these documents ahead of a scheduled committee vote to begin contempt of Congress proceedings against the attorney general. In his letter to the president, Holder said release of the documents would have "significant, damaging consequences." President Obama quickly granted Holder's request.

Obama's move sparks serious questions about just what he knew and when he knew about Operation Fast and Furious himself.

"How can the president assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement?" asked Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. "How can he invoke executive privilege over documents he's supposedly never seen? Something very big must be being hidden to go to this extreme. The contempt citation is an important procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances. The questions from Congress go to determining what happened in a disastrous government program for accountability and so that it's never repeated again."

Speaker John Boehner said, "The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed. The administration has always insisted that wasn't the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?"

After rendering President Obama's invocation of executive privilege not applicable to this case at this time, the House Oversight Committee went ahead today and voted 23-17 to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. The charge will now move to the full House next week.

Yet the other question still remains: What does President Obama think he stands to gain by his actions? What in these documents is so bad that he would do something this politically damaging?

Most likely, he is merely stonewalling until after the election, thinking that, since he has never been held accountable for anything before, he can drag this out as long as possible. He will no doubt paint this issue as nothing more than a Republican witch hunt to derail him in an election year. Remember, the buck doesn't stop with President Obama - it stops with everyone but him. But don't Americans have the right to know before the election what our president and attorney general are hiding in those documents?

Meanwhile, the media, who love to excoriate President Richard Nixon for invoking executive privilege during Watergate, are treating Obama with kid gloves - in fact, they're barely covering this at all. But nobody died in Watergate. People died because of Obama's Fast and Furious operation, which has been furiously covered up ever since. Can you imagine the media coverage if this were a Republican president involved in such a mess?

The other question is, what will it take for people to open their eyes to see how bad this president is for America? Not only do we face the largest tax increase in American history come January 1, 2013, huge cuts in spending on our country's defense in very dangerous times, violation of fundamental freedoms, a diminished respect on the world stage, and rule by decree from a president who bypasses Congress any chance he gets, we now have indications our own president is involved in a cover-up of a government program that resulted in innocent American citizens being murdered with guns supplied by this administration.

Despite this, Obama shows more interest in campaigning so we can have four more years of his destruction of America and our Constitution. What more has to happen for every American to see what is unfolding right before our eyes?

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Friday, June 15, 2012

President bypasses Congress to let illegal immigrants compete for scarce American jobs

President Obama announced today that "effective immediately" the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to ignore existing federal laws on immigration by delaying deportation of people 30 years old and under who came to the U.S. as children illegally, but who have since led otherwise law-abiding lives and obtained at least a GED or above. As a bonus, they will be granted permission to apply for work permits in an already deeply challenging employment environment.

There are few - if any - people who lack compassion for young people who were brought here for the most part by relatives at a young age, undoubtedly without a say in the matter. Everyone understands that to abruptly deport them would be extremely traumatizing. But as harsh as this may sound, compassion is no excuse for disobeying the law, and disobeying the law is not the way to fix the illegal immigration issue (by the way, by disobeying the law, I am, for the time being, referring to the President of the United States, not the illegal immigrants).

The issue, in this case, is not whether or how to deport people here illegally, or what the best fix to the problem is. The issue is that once again the president is demonstrating executive branch overreach by ignoring existing laws on deportation and the Constitutional power given to Congress to enact legislation, such as the so-called DREAM Act (which, if passed, would establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the U.S. illegally, but who have attended college or served in the military). But what Obama can't get through the legislative process, he'll get by executive fiat, simple as that.

The Act has yet to pass because granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is hardly something that can be taken lightly. The U.S. currently permits one million immigrants to come here legally every year. We are a nation built on immigration -- claims that we are anti-immigrant are false. Our tradition of immigration is what makes America great, but being a nation of law is also what makes us great. Granting in essence amnesty to people here illegally by allowing them to bypass the established naturalization process of America flies in the face of law. And to sign an executive order that contradicts existing law is unconstitutional. The president is breaking the law to cater to those who are breaking the law by being here.

What it comes down to is that our system of checks and balances and legal processes are completely beneath a president desperate for reelection at any cost. This should infuriate law-abiding American citizens. And since getting votes - in this case the Latino vote - is more important than anything, ignoring existing laws on immigration and bypassing proper legislative channels when it suits him is the president's chosen tact.

Obama knows that Latinos' opposition to America's existing deportation policies is a huge issue for this part of the electorate. Within almost minutes of his announcement, a CNN reporter cheerfully admitted that the president's actions are clearly designed to get the Latino vote in November, that his (Congress-free) policy decision will serve to rally Latino voters for election day. Of course the White House denies this motive - even though Obama timed his announcement a week before he will be addressing a Latino Conference in Orlando.

Defending his decision today, the president said of the young illegal immigrants, "they are Americans in their hearts, their minds, in every way...except one - on paper". Yes, and what an important piece of paper that is. It's the difference between being here legally and illegally, and the law matters. But since when has this president shown that the law matters - or even applies - to him?

Speaking about the policy change earlier today, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner.” Yet the federal government is suing Arizona for trying to enforce immigration law, while it ignores existing law itself and bypasses Congress to enact its own policies by executive fiat.

Meanwhile, during the president's announcement today, a reporter who asked how this policy will help American workers was quickly chastised by the Commander in Chief for interrupting him. But it was a valid question, indeed. How will letting illegal immigrants work in the country legally help American citizens who are struggling to find work themselves, especially young workers?

The nation's youth unemployment rate is out of control at 16.4%, double that of the official overall employment rate (which is likely even higher than we're told if you add up all the hopeless people not included in the official number who have given up even trying to look for work). Obama's policy change will now allow approximately 800,000 thousand young, educated, illegal immigrants to compete with legal citizens for very few available jobs.

But hey, what are a few million unemployed American citizens when you can pander for votes from a distinct section of the electorate? And Congress? Who needs it? It's as unnecessary as the Constitution itself. This president is above all that nonsense. After all, there's an election to win, and that, to this president, is far more important than anything so silly as the law.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Public school ditching patriotism to appease other cultures

Today we celebrate Flag Day, which some say originates from the day on June 14, 1889, when George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York, planned a celebration of the American flag for his students. It was made an official holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. It's a day set aside simply to show our patriotism by paying special homage to the Stars & Stripes that represent America.

How sad that present day, another school official in New York - this time a principal named Greta Hawkins - told kindergartners they could not sing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" at their moving-up ceremony for fear it might offend other cultures.

Assuming the cultures she's referring to reside here in America, why would a song about America offend anyone?  Could it be the song's mentioning of God that this woman finds offensive? If that's the case, then maybe she is confused in thinking that mentioning God is the same as government establishment of religion. Which, of course, it isn't. But rather than risk anything, this principal is pulling the plug on a patriotic song despite the fact the kids rehearsed it for months.

So what song did she approve to have sung in its place? Justin Bieber's "Baby".

Kyle Olson of Education Action Group points out what this says about the state of public education in America.

"They replace great patriotic songs like that with ridiculous songs by pop stars that add nothing to society or add nothing to our culture," he declares. "It is really unfortunate that this is the level that our government schools have sunk to."

According to school staffers, Hawkins has also tried to end the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of "America the Beautiful" each morning.

Maybe she really does just have a beef with patriotism itself, but whether it's patriotism or opposition to mentioning God, how do her actions protect the kids from anything? Why should we change American customs to cater to those who might be easily offended? Instead, maybe we should just start telling the overly sensitive to buck up and accept that the sun does not revolve around them. Let them throw a temper tantrum if they must, but let's continue practicing the customs that we cherish in the U.S.A.

God Bless America and Happy Flag Day!

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

EPA wants a "Way of Life Act" to control us even more

Despite the extensive regulations placed on Americans through the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and other directives, zealots at the Environmental Protection Agency say existing rules are not enough to control individual behavior - and controlling individual behavior is what they long to do.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) recently released a video montage of Obama EPA Regional Administrators revealing their hopes of imposing a green “Way Of Life Act” on Americans enforced through the regulatory dictatorship of the EPA.

President Obama-appointed EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz is heard saying on the video that the EPA should "crucify" and "make an example" of the oil and coal industries -- which is eerily in keeping with Obama's promise to bankrupt coal companies.

To be precise, Armendariz put his  "philosophy of enforcement" of a green way of life regarding oil & coal companies this way: "It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years."

Armendariz went on to say, “I don’t have a Way of Life Act that I can enforce - I’ve got a Clean Air Act, I’ve got a  Clean Water Act, a Safe Drinking Water Act that can be used to enforce green ideals." But having an official Act on how people actually live their lives would be so much more convenient.

Armendariz subsequently resigned under fire for his comments, but he wasn't alone in his intent to control our way of life. Also appearing on the video is EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck, who tries to justify a "Way of Life Act" because, “I don’t think individual change is going to be enough."

But it's not just these two people we need to fear, Sen. Inhofe’s office warns. “The purpose of this video is to get to know President Obama’s 'green generals' – the regional administrators – who are going into battle for the Obama-EPA, working hard to force a green 'way of life act' in regions across the United States."

It's frightening to imagine what type of controls they envision placing on us under such an Act. It's bad enough that environmentalists are indoctrinating children into a green way of thinking, to the extent of having them monitor their own parents to point out where they're failing to live "green." Now agents of the government want to regulate our behavior officially and have another excuse to raise taxes on our use of energy.

The question is, what makes these environmentalists' values more important than an individual's right to live as he chooses? At what point will the government, under the guise and legal backing of a green Way of Life Act or other existing Acts, begin to dictate how much water we can use in a given day, or how long we can run our air conditioner? Especially bothersome is that unelected officials are being given extraordinary power to enforce behavior on American citizens, and they have the full support of our President. 

Just like New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's attempt to regulate the size of soda cups we drink from, our government has no right telling us how to live our lives in our own private pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Too bad those values are all but forgotten by this leftist government gone wild. Hopefully this Way of Life Act remains nothing more than a pipe-dream.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

President uses "pay gap" myth to attract women voters

In his continued quest to paint women as victims in hopes of getting their votes, President Obama is urging Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which ostensibly seeks to reduce the "pay gap" between men and women. Obama knows it hasn't much chance of passing, but the bill's failure won't upset him as much as it will thrill him to use it against Republicans in the election. And that, of course, is the whole point. As usual with this president, perception matters more than facts, especially when it can serve his reelection ambitions.

Though there is a widespread perception that women are paid less than men on average, the perception goes wrong in thinking that such pay disparity is about cases when a woman doing the exact same job as a man for the same hours, in the same company or industry is paid less than her male co-worker. That is not, however, where the disparity lies. The "pay gap" simply looks at the median earnings of all men and women who are full-time workers, and because the average of men's earnings skew higher, feminists cry discrimination. But were they to take a closer look at the facts, they'd have to recant their accusation.

The fact is, men and women make different career choices for different reasons. A U.S. Department of Labor study found the average full-time working man works 8.14 hours a day, compared to 7.75 hours for the full-time working woman. Naturally, this would result in the man making more money.

Even more to the point, the natural differences between men and women result in different priorities, and therefore, different job ambitions. Women in general tend to seek jobs that offer comfortable and safe working conditions. In particular, women with children tend to choose lower paying jobs in return for companies that offer work-life balance packages that allow them to be more available for their children. Fathers, on the other hand, tend to seek work that can best support their families, which often means longer hours.

Men also are much more likely to take on dangerous or physically demanding jobs that most women simply don't want to do. You don't see many women working on oil rigs, construction sites, coal mines or the like. These jobs pay more because it's difficult to find people who are able and willing to do them. People crying discrimination need to understand that the oft-repeated statistic that women make on average "70 cents on the dollar compared to men" simply reflects an overall average of all pay for all jobs across the board.

But rather than speak truthfully about the real reason behind the "pay gap", the president is playing politics with the issue with no regard for the damage the Paycheck Fairness Act could inflict. For one, the Act would give women enhanced legal ability to sue employers over pay disparities. What's dangerous about that is the legislation does not cap punitive damages, and puts the onus on the employer to prove they're innocent of discrimination.

As Joe Brenckle, a Republican spokesman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said, federal law already prohibits discriminatory practices, and this proposal is "a gift to trial lawyers with dramatically increased litigation and uncapped damages liability."

Republicans are now in the position of having to vote down a bad piece of legislation knowing doing so will be used against them by Obama in his "war on women" campaign strategy. This is one more attempt by our president to distract voters from the real issues by creating false ones. Let's hope the electorate is more educated than Obama gives us credit for, and that his cheap and divisive tactics will backfire, as they well deserve to do.

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