The Great Destroyer.

 destroyer

The Great Destroyer

ObamaCare wreaks havoc on health care, the economy, American freedom and Obama’s presidency.

By

PETE DU PONT

CONNECT

Nov. 25, 2013 8:32 p.m. ET
Polls show an increasing majority of Americans dislike President Obama’s health-care law and disapprove of the job the president is doing. Perhaps more disconcerting for Mr. Obama is a recent Quinnipiac University poll that finds, for the first time in his presidency, a majority (54%) of registered voters feel he is not honest and trustworthy.In response, the administration rolls out ObamaCare delays or stopgap fixes just a month after Republicans were labeled extremists for proposing delays and fixes. The White House tries shifting blame for the embarrassing rollout to others—information technology contractors, insurance companies and of course, Republicans. The administration is even working to discourage use of the word “ObamaCare,” which the president had proudly embraced before the law encountered reality.Most interestingly, the administration and congressional Democrats seem genuinely surprised that their prized legislation, which was to be the crown jewel of the president’s legacy and the culmination of decades of liberal ambition, simply doesn’t work.
WORST THING BLOG INSERT
Did these folks ever study history, economics or sociology? If they had, they would have known there was little chance of success for their attempt to snatch one-sixth of our economy and thrust it under a complex set of bureaucratic regulations, market disincentives, higher costs and new taxes.Large government interventions in the market almost always fall short of their backers’ dreams (although not usually this rapidly). Such programs suffer from a common set of flaws, all of which are found in ObamaCare. First, and perhaps foremost, is the hubris inherent in the assumption that bureaucrats in Washington (or Moscow, Beijing or Pyongyang) know better than families, individuals and businesses do what is best for them.We also often find a certain “looseness” with the facts. There is overpromising at the beginning. Mr. Obama actually promised to provide better health care to more people while spending less money. While some of us saw that was obviously absurd, many are just now coming to this realization. We were told we could keep our existing plan if we liked it, “period.” But it turns out that means “only as long as the government, in its wisdom, decides it’s right for you.” The posturing and spinning continues as the administration tries to inflate the pathetically low enrollment figures. The left’s mindset is that such obfuscation (to be generous) is fine as long as it is deployed in the furtherance of the greater good, which they see as coming only from their policies.

Obamacare poison

ObamaCare embodies the usual hypocrisy of large liberal programs, as the administration bestows benefits and exemptions on favored constituencies and the politically connected. We see waivers for big labor, relief from inconvenient mandates for congressional staff, and decisions timed to minimize harm to Democrats in the next election. Conversely, those who don’t have politically correct views are ignored or mocked. We see lip service given to conscientious objections to abortion and birth control, but ObamaCare policies that run roughshod over these objections.

Perhaps most disappointing, we can observe in the administration’s handling of ObamaCare a now all too familiar subversion of the rule of law, a fundamental precept of our nation’s founding and of democracies everywhere. George Will notes that the administration has apparently decided it can adopt legislation by press conference as Mr. Obama simply announces changes to the law or that he will not enforce certain provisions. His administration then proceeds to strong-arm businesses and demonize critics.

There is the usual governmental failure to anticipate how people respond to economic incentives. Why would the administration expect the required large numbers of healthy, young people to enroll in ObamaCare in response to higher premiums? Why would the administration expect businesses to refrain from adjusting their staffing decisions based on the additional cost of ObamaCare?

Finally, we see the familiar curse of unintended consequences as the fantasy of better, more affordable insurance with more options runs into the reality of higher costs and fewer options. The failed exchange and the cancelled plans were just the beginning, followed by sticker shock at the cost of the government-mandated coverage and doctors being dropped from networks or opting out.

We don’t yet know every way in which ObamaCare will damage our health-care system, our economy and our freedom, but we can be sure more pain is coming.

Arctic sea ice up 60 percent in 2013: dramatic deviation from predictions of an “ice-free Arctic in 2013.

Arctic sea ice up 60 percent in 2013

Published September 09, 2013

FoxNews.com
  • arctic sea ice 2012 vs 2013.jpg

    NASA satelite images show the changing Artic sea ice coverage. from August 2012 (left) to August 2013 (right) — a growth of about a million square miles. (NASA)

About a million more square miles of ocean are covered in ice in 2013 than in 2012, a whopping 60 percent increase — and a dramatic deviation from predictions of an “ice-free Arctic in 2013,” the Daily Mail noted.

Arctic sea ice averaged 2.35 million square miles in August 2013, as compared to the low point of 1.32 million square miles recorded on Sept. 16, 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. A chart published Sept. 8 by NSIDC shows the dramatic rise this year, putting total ice cover within two standard deviations of the 30-year average.

Noting the year over year surge, one scientist even argued that “global cooling” was here.

“We are already in a cooling trend, which I think will continue for the next 15 years at least. There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s has stopped,” Anastasios Tsonis of the University of Wisconsin told London’s Mail on Sunday.

The surge in Arctic ice is a dramatic change from last year’s record-setting lows, which fueled dire predictions of an imminent ice-free summer. A 2007 BBC report said the Arctic could be ice free in 2013 — a theory NASA still echoes today.

“[An ice-free Arctic is] definitely coming, and coming sooner than we previously expected,“ Walt Meier, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, told LiveScience last month. “We’re looking at when as opposed to if.”

Noting the growth in ice, the Snow and Ice Data Center said that coverage was still well below the 30-year average. And the year over year growth in ice is “largely irrelevant,” argued The Guardian, noting that more ice is to be expected after the record low a year ago.

“We should not often expect to observe records in consecutive years. 2012 shattered the previous record low sea ice extent; hence ‘regression towards the mean’ told us that 2013 would likely have a higher minimum extent,” wrote Dana Nuccitelli.

Meanwhile, global surface temperatures have been relatively flat over the past decade and a half, according to data from the U.K.’s weather-watching Met Office.

A leaked draft of the next major climate report from the U.N. cites numerous causes to explain the slowdown in warming: greater-than-expected ash from volcanoes, a decline in heat from the sun, more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans, and so on.

Climate skeptics have spent months debating the weather pattern, some citing it as evidence that global warming itself has decelerated or even stopped.

“The absence of any significant change in the global annual average temperature over the past 16 years has become one of the most discussed topics in climate science,” wrote David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in June. “It has certainly focused the debate about the relative importance of greenhouse gas forcing of the climate versus natural variability.”

When Did Obama Decide That The Scandals He Once Thought Were Serious Are Now ‘Phony’?

When Did Obama Decide That The Scandals He Once Thought Were Serious Are Now ‘Phony’?

by Noah Rothman | 1:34 pm, July 25th, 2013VIDEO» 420 comments

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama set the tone for the debate surrounding the many controversies that have plagued his administration since the spring. The president called those scandals “phony” and denigrated those who find any worth in their investigation. But, as one prominent conservative opinion writer noted yesterday, it was not long ago that the White House was acknowledging the seriousness of the scandals he now derides as contrived.

“With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball,” Obama said during a marathon speech in Illinois.

During a panel segment on Fox News Channel’s Special ReportThe Weekly Standard editorStephen F. Hayes asked a pointed question about these so-called “phony scandals”: “Which of the scandals is phony?”

“The president has already acknowledged the seriousness of two of them – three of them, in one way or another,” Hayes added.

“This is part of the plan to set up an argument for the fall,” he said, identifying how Democrats will counter Republican charges of malfeasance by administration officials ahead of the 2014 midterms. In essence, Hayes implied, Obama and his supporters will accuse the opponents of his administration of a pathological desire to cling to already discredited conspiracy theories.

But Hayes is right to ask precisely which scandal Obama now finds “phony” that he or administration officials previously acknowledged were grave. Was he referring to the scandal surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups with undue scrutiny when seeking tax-exempt status?

“It’s inexcusable and Americans have a right to be angry about it — and I’m angry about it,” Obama said in May when IRS official Lois Lerner confessed to the targeting after planting a question about the affair with a member of the media at a routine press conference. “The fact of the matter is the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity.” Obama made these comments announcing from the White House that he had dismissed IRS personnel as a direct response to the accusations.

Nothing to see here, Obama’s supporters say. They point to newly revealed documents which purport to show that some liberal groups were targeted with scrutiny as well – though few have come forward to share their stories in the numbers that conservative groups have. But the National Review’s Eliana Johnson reports that IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, who the IRS said in a statement was not involved in the 501(c)(4) application process, “became aware of the targeting of tea-party groups at some point in 2012” according to the testimony of congressional witnesses. Wilkins did have regular contact with individuals in the White House, though whether he revealed what he knew about the targeting scandal to administration officials is not yet known.

Or maybe the president meant the scandal surrounding the administration’s response to the attack in Benghazi. Did he mean when the administration sent Susan Rice, then the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, on every Sunday news programs to blame the attack on a spontaneous upraising resulting from an inflammatory YouTube video? A response which State Department officials testified seriously damaged American relations with the nascent post-Gaddafi Libyan government, and directly resulted in the delay of FBI investigative teams being able to access the scene of the attack. Which agency officials made the determination to send Rice out to make this claim remains unclear.

Americans also do not yet know who determined that minimal security for that threatened consulate was acceptable. “I am intent on making sure that we do everything we can to prevent another tragedy like this from happening,” Obama said in May, shifting blame for that lack of embassy security to a lack of funding and mismanagement by Congress. “But that means we owe it to them and all who serve to do everything in our power to protect our personnel serving overseas.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) later echoed this claim in a fiery speech on the Senate floor. Boxer’s claim, and Obama’s by extension, that Congress was to blame for the light security footprint in Benghazi was given three Pinocchios from Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler. During testimony before a congressional committee, one State Department official asserted that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wanted to convert that temporary post in Benghazi into a permanent American diplomatic facility – she was to make this announcement in December of last year on a planned trip to Libya. Was this why the facility needed to be manned with high-level diplomatic personnel, including Libyan Amb. Chris Stevens, even though the consulate was not sufficiently hardened against attacks?

Or, perhaps, Obama was referring to the controversy surrounding the Department of Justice’s sweeping and overzealous efforts to intimidate government leakers and the journalists that would speak to them by unilaterally sweeping up the telephone records of Associated Press reporters and naming Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in an attempt to violate the Espionage Act.

This “phony scandal” resulted in a series of off the record meetings (which fast became on the record meetings after reporters began to boycott those credibility-endangering parlays) between journalists, media executives, and Attorney General Eric Holder. When the DOJ subpoenas story broke, Holder insisted that, while he had no direct involvement in the investigations, he took them “very seriously.” Earlier this month, the DOJ announced that it would rewrite the rules that govern how federal prosecutors and investigators seek secret warrants to prosecute criminal leaks.

It is perfectly understandable why the president and his supporters would want to dismiss as illegitimate these and other smoldering controversies. The president himself and senior administration officials initially recognized and acknowledged the severity and seriousness of the above scandals – their seriousness has not dissipated as their scope has broadened. As the various investigations into these infractions evolved, Obama and his supporters have become more aggressively contemptuous of those pursuing them and have attacked the motives of anyone who would seek to hold a frank discussion about these infractions. This is perhaps the most compelling indication that these and other scandals are anything but “phony.”

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Bipartisan consensus: Lengthy remarks offered tired rhetoric

Bipartisan consensus: Lengthy remarks offered tired rhetoric

Government Transparency, NSA, "top secret"

AP

BY: 
July 24, 2013 3:46 pm

President Obama’s speech on jobs and the economy Wednesday in Illinois took 1 hour, 6 minutes, making it longer than every State of the Union address of his presidency except the one in January of 2010 when he spoke for 1 hour 9 minutes.

And yet many pundits were left wondering what the point was to Obama’s lengthy remarks at Knox College today.

The Weekly Standard‘s Fred Barnes called it a “predictable bust” with “tired ideas” that proved Obama, whose approval ratings are at their lowest point since 2011, may be older but is anything but wiser:

And remember the “sequester”?  It was his idea to force spending cuts of $100 billion or so for 10 years.  Now, though the sequester’s impact has been chiefly to reduce our military strength, he blames Republicans for “leaving in place a meat cleaver” that’s done everything from costing jobs to gutting education and scientific research.

As usual for an Obama speech, there’s plenty of pie in the sky.  He’ll “rebuild run-down neighborhoods.”  He’s for making preschool available for 4-year-olds—no mention of the cost—and providing “a vital support system for working parents.”  Translated, that means taxpayer paid babysitting.

Forbes contributor Doug Schoen, a Democrat, derided the “much-hyped” address as little more than a campaign-style speech that doubled down on his 2012 approach: division, polarization and moving to the left.

Washington Post‘s political blog “The Fix” said Obama’s address would change very little despite being billed by aides as a major moment for his second term:

And yet, during that same OFA fundraiser, Obama acknowledged that no matter how lofty his goals or his rhetoric, the fundamental realities of the politics of the economy were almost certain to remain unchanged. ”I’m excited about the speech, not because I think the speech is going to change any minds,” he said.

Truer words were never spoken.

“The Fix” editor Chris Cillizza added afterwards, “You could be forgiven if you thought you had heard President Obama’s speech on the economy today before. Because you have.”

Before the speech, liberal Washington Post columnist and frequent MSNBC contributor Dana Milbank pondered whether yet another attempt to “pivot” to the economy showed the chief executive was “fresh out of ideas”:

If he’s to break through the resistance, Obama will need some bold new proposals. That’s why his speech returning to the oldies would seem to confirm that the White House has given up on big achievements.

To build interest in the new series of speeches, the White House scheduled an invitation-only briefing (RSVP required) for Monday, then set cloak-and-dagger ground rules requiring that the briefers not be quoted, even anonymously. Reporters protested, but they needn’t have worried: The official who gave the briefing made clear that there would be no new policies announced, at least not major ones and not initially.

Even the royal baby stole Obama’s thunder. News that the young prince had been named George Alexander Louis of Cambridge came during his prepared remarks.

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European firms ‘could quit US internet providers over NSA scandal’

wrecking ball insert copy

European firms ‘could quit US internet providers over NSA scandal’

European commission vice-president says American cloud services providers could suffer loss of business.

Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for digital matters, who said: ‘If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now.’ Photograph: Yves Logghe/AP

European businesses are likely to abandon the services of Americaninternet providers because of the National Security Agency surveillance scandal, the European commission has warned.

Neelie Kroes, the commission vice-president who speaks on digital affairs, predicted that providers of cloud services, which allow users to store and access data on remote servers, could suffer significant loss of business if clients fear the security of their material is under threat.

The warning came as it appeared that the Americans and the Europeans were to start investigating alleged breaches of data privacy in the EU as well as US intelligence and espionage practices.

Despite threats from France to delay long-awaited EU-US negotiations on a new transatlantic free trade pact, scheduled to open in Washington on Monday, EU ambassadors in Brussels reached a consensus on Thursday to go ahead with the talks.

They could not yet agree, however, on how to respond to a US offer of parallel talks on the NSA scandal, the Prism and Tempora programmes and issues of more traditional espionage arising from reports of how US agencies bugged and tapped the offices and embassies of the EU and several member states.

Dalia Grybauskaitė, the president of Lithuania, said on Thursday that she was not seeking an apology from the Americans. Lithuania takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency this week.

While no decision had yet been taken, she said she hoped the EU-US talks on electronic surveillance would also be launched on Monday and run concurrently. Since much of the alleged US hoovering up of telephone and internet traffic in Europe is assumed to amount to commercial and industrial espionage, the two parallel sets of talks will affect one another.

Senior EU officials complain that there is no point engaging in sensitive trade talks when the other side has already eavesdropped on you and knows your negotiating position.

Grybauskaitė emphasised that the American side was keen to come clean on the dispute.

“They are open to co-operation. They are open to explain,” she said. “I never seek an apology from anyone. I seek information … We don’t want to jeopardise the strategic importance of free trade.”

Pointing to the potential fallout from the disclosures about the scale ofNSA operations in Europe, Kroes, the European commissioner for digital matters, predicted that US internet providers of cloud services could suffer major business losses.

“If businesses or governments think they might be spied on, they will have less reason to trust cloud, and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out. Why would you pay someone else to hold your commercial or other secrets if you suspect or know they are being shared against your wishes?” she said.

“It is often American providers that will miss out, because they are often the leaders in cloud services. If European cloud customers cannot trust the United States government, then maybe they won’t trust US cloud providers either. If I am right, there are multibillion-euro consequences for American companies. If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now.”

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the European commission and Grybauskaitė made clear they wanted the trade talks to go ahead as planned on Monday. France appeared to drop its objections despite previously insisting on guarantees that the espionage had been halted before the trade talks could start.

Grybauskaitė also voiced suspicions of a possible Russian role in the furore, pointing to Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, being stuck in Moscow at the same time as weekend revelations about US spying on Europe emerged in the runup to the trade talks.

She insisted that the espionage dispute should not be allowed to derail the trade talks but conceded that “some countries are very sensitive on this question.” The Lithuanian finance minister, Rimantas Šadžius, said: “The French have some problems.”

EU diplomats said ambassadors from the 28 member states engaged in “urgent and tricky” discussions on Thursday on how to proceed. While the European commission would lead the EU side on issues of data privacy, the talks on intelligence and espionage practices would need to be done by national governments.

It was not clear where Britain fitted into the picture since it is one of the biggest EU countries but has not been targeted by the NSA, unlike Germany or France, according to the reports, and the UK’s GCHQ has itself been collecting vast quantities of European internet and telephone data.

Kroes warned that US firms could be the biggest losers from the US government’s voracious appetite for information.

“Concerns about cloud security can easily push European policy-makers into putting security guarantees ahead of open markets, with consequences for American companies. Cloud has a lot of potential. But potential doesn’t count for much in an atmosphere of distrust.”

Employer Mandate? Never Mind Obama decides not to enforce the heart of his health-care law.

the-wall-street-journal

Employer Mandate? Never Mind

Obama decides not to enforce the heart of his health-care law.

  • These columns fought the Affordable Care Act from start to passage, and we’d now like to apologize to our readers. It turns out we weren’t nearly critical enough. The law’s implementation is turning into a fiasco for the ages, and this week’s version is the lawless White House decision to delay the law’s insurance mandate for businesses, though not for individuals.

The employer mandate is central to ObamaCare’s claim of providing universal coverage. Companies with 50 or more “employee equivalents” must pay a $2,000 penalty per full-time employee if they don’t provide government-approved health insurance. The provision was supposed to start in January, and delaying it is like Ford saying its electric car is ready to go, except the electric battery doesn’t work.

WSJ editorial board member Joe Rago on why the White House delayed the ObamaCare employer mandate for a year. Photo credit: Getty Images.

But all of a sudden on Tuesday evening Mark Mazur—you know him as the deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy—published a blog post canceling the insurance reporting rules and tax enforcement until 2015 as Washington began to evacuate for the long Independence Day weekend. Enjoy the holiday, mate.

White House fixer Valerie Jarrett tried to contain the fallout with a separate blog post promising that ObamaCare is otherwise “staying the course.” That’s true only if she’s referring to the carelessness and improvisation that have defined the law so far.

Mr. Mazur cited the “complexity of the requirements” as the reason for the delay. He isn’t talking about business confusion and uncertainty, as damaging as those are. This is probably an admission that Treasury’s information technology isn’t ready to process and cross-check paperwork across the 5.7 million businesses in America, especially the pass-through S-corps and partnerships that file under the individual tax code.

This is more than a typical government snafu. It relates directly to the design of the law, which was thoughtlessly written and rammed through Congress with instructions for the bureaucracy to figure it all out.

And, lo, over eight interim final rules, three final rules, 20 requests for comment, 21 proposed rules, one information collection request, two amendments to the interim final rules, six requests for information and one frequently-asked-questions document, the Administration has created an employer-mandate system that, for example, requires business to track and report every full-time employee’s hours of service on amonthly basis.

 

image

APPresident Barack Obama

Meanwhile, the law stipulates that a full-time workweek for the purposes of the mandate is 30 hours, when general business practice is at least 35. The result is that businesses have been scrambling to insulate themselves from higher labor costs by hiring part-time workers, or splitting shifts, or in some industries like fast food even sharing workers. Small firms trying to expand while avoiding the 50-worker trigger have come to be known as 49ers.

The delay will help these and other employers avoid immediately higher costs, which is why the main business lobbies endorsed it. But the decision will continue to dampen overall job creation because businesses know they’ll still be whacked in a year. Businesses don’t hire workers with the intention of sacking them later.

The Administration’s media cheerleaders are nonetheless portraying this as a stroke of political genius to push all the pain past the 2014 elections. But if that’s the goal, it is too clever by half. If Republicans have any sense, they will move immediately to delay the rest of the bill for at least a year too. They should start with the individual mandate to buy insurance or pay a tax.

Individuals are only supposed to be eligible for ObamaCare’s subsidies if their employer doesn’t offer the right benefits. But how will the Treasury know who qualifies in 2014 if they lack the information that businesses are supposed to provide? Citizens must also pay the individual mandate-tax if they decline coverage from their employer. How will the Treasury verify these offers?

Which brings us to the dubious legality of this delay. The Affordable Care Act’s Section 1513 states in black-letter law that “(d) Effective Date.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.” It does not say the Administration can impose the mandate whenever it feels it is politically convenient.

This selective enforcement of laws has become an Administration habit. From immigration (the Dream Act by fiat) to easing welfare reform’s work requirements to selective waivers for No Child Left Behind, the Obama Administration routinely suspends enforcement of or unilaterally rewrites via regulation the laws it dislikes. Now it is doing it again on health care, without any consultation from, much less the approval of, Congress. President Obama probably figures business and Republicans won’t object because they don’t like the law anyway.

But Republicans should give Mr. Obama the legal authority to suspend the mandate—in return for other concessions. In addition to forcing votes on suspending the individual mandate-tax, this could include repealing the medical device tax and other harmful provisions. Democrats will find it hard to defend an individual mandate-tax now that businesses are spared. And a delay of one year can easily become two, then three, and then past the next Presidential election.

ObamaCare has become a rolling “train wreck,” in Senator Max Baucus’s memorable phrase, and it gets worse the more of it the public sees. The employer mandate is terrible policy, as the law’s critics said before it passed. Now the Administration is all but admitting it can’t implement it properly, and the task for opponents is to press the concession and begin to delay the rest of the law and dismantle it piece by piece.

Obamacare employer mandate delayed until 2015 to give Democrats breathing room until after 2014 midterm elections, says Treasury source.

Obamacare employer mandate delayed until 2015 to give Democrats breathing room until after 2014 midterm elections, says Treasury source.

By DAVID MARTOSKO IN WASHINGTON

PUBLISHED: 17:53 EST, 2 July 2013 | UPDATED: 19:41 EST, 2 July 2013

Obamacare penalties - what the Supreme Court called 'taxes' - are the teeth in the law's enforcement mechanisms, but the administration has decided to hold off fining anyone for noncompliance until at least 2015Obamacare penalties – what the Supreme Court called ‘taxes’ – are the teeth in the law’s enforcement mechanisms, but the administration has decided to hold off fining anyone for noncompliance until at least 2015

A Treasury Department official who declined to be named confirmed to MailOnline on Tuesday that the Obama administration will not begin enforcing employer mandates in the Obamacare law until 2015 – one year later than originally planned – and pinned that change of direction on a combination of politics and economic realities in the marketplace.

Mark Mazur, the Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy, announced on the agency’s blog that the administration ‘will provide an additional year before the … mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin.’

The blog post explained that the delay was intended to leave time to simplify reporting requirements and give companies time to adapt.

But the Treasury source said the extra year will give the White House an extra year to persuade health insurers to participate in the exchanges that make up the backbone of the Affordable Care Act.

The revised timetable, the source added, will also push back the final implementation of Obamacare’s penalties past the 2014 midterm elections, providing Republicans fewer chances to highlight the law’s potentially harmful effects on businesses’ bottom lines.

The Obama administration’s new schedule means business won’t be penalized immediately for failing to enroll all their workers in health plans and report the results to the federal government, Bloomberg News was first to report.

The Affordable Care Act includes financial penalties on companies that fail to comply if they employe 50 or more people. The Treasury Department is involved because the Internal Revenue Service, a Treasury sub-agency, will be tasked with enforcing the law and assessing those penalties.

Longtime Opponents of Obamacare will seize on the delay as a political move to push back the harshest impacts of the law until after the 2014 congressional electionsLongtime Opponents of Obamacare will seize on the delay as a political move to push back the harshest impacts of the law until after the 2014 congressional elections
The U.S. Supreme Court green-lighted Obamacare in June 2012 on the basis of Chief Justice John Roberts' decision to treat the law's penalties as 'taxes,' but now those taxes won't be levied on businesses for another yearThe U.S. Supreme Court green-lighted Obamacare in June 2012 on the basis of Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision to treat the law’s penalties as ‘taxes,’ but now those taxes won’t be levied on businesses for another year

‘Obamacare is a flawed law,’ Republican National Committee Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams told MailOnline. ‘It has been from day one and continues to be one now.’

‘This latest announcement is just another sign that the president and his administration are afraid of the havoc that this imperfect law will wreak on everyday Americans.’

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, a California Republican, piled on Tuesday evening, drawing attention to the GOP’s efforts to repeal the Obamacare law in its entirety.

‘The House has repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare because it will not work and is bad public policy,’ Issa said in a statement. ‘The President has delayed a critical component of the Affordable Care Act because it is absolutely unaffordable for American job creators and workers. It is unclear that he has the authority to do this without Congress.’

‘This is another in a string of extra legal actions taken by his Administration to mask the horrible impact his law will have on the economy and health care in the United States.’

People on both sides of the national health care debate protested – often in close proximity – in front of the Supreme Court in 2012

Tea party groups had a large presence in Washington on June 28, 2012 as the nation's highest-ranking jurists prepared to announce the decision that legitimized Obamacare in federal lawTea party groups had a large presence in Washington on June 28, 2012 as the nation’s highest-ranking jurists prepared to announce the decision that legitimized Obamacare in federal law

28 Mar 2012, Washington, DC, USA --- Protest sign outside United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
Mark Mazur

Meet the tax man: Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur (R) announced Tuesday that the government will delay penalizing companies that don’t comply with Obamacare

Politico noted that Tuesday’s pivot from the White House will not affect the so-called ‘individual mandate,’ which will require most Americans to be insured. It also won’t delay the scheduled October rollout of health care marketplaces, called exchanges, set up to help taxpayers and companies find coverage that satisfies the Obamacare law.

The administration has been on a full-court press in California, Texas and Florida, enlisting the help of Hispanic advocacy groups and Spanish-language media networks to encourage enrollment in advance of the autumn start date.

The Treasury Department said it expects to publish regulatory rules in one week that will formalize the new 2015 enforcement deadline for companies.

Hobby Lobby Wins Yet Another Victory Against Obama

Court: Gov’t Must Halt Enforcement of Sterilization-Contraception-Abortifacient Mandate Against Hobby Lobby

June 28, 2013 – 6:14 PM

By Michael W. Chapman
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Hobby Lobby(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(CNSNews.com) – Following on yesterday’s 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Hobby Lobby can continue its lawsuit against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate on religious grounds, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma ruled today that the federal government must halt all enforcement of the mandate (and related financial penalties) against the Christian-based company.

Hobby Lobby and sister company Mardel are suing the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, arguing that to force the company to pay for health insurance that must offer abortion-inducing drugs, as well as sterilization and contraception, is a violation of its religious liberty.

In his order issued on Friday, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton said the “court concludes plaintiffs [Hobby Lobby] have made a sufficient showing to warrant the issuance of a temporary restraining order in the circumstances existing here.”

“Accordingly, the defendants [Sebelius and HHS], their agents, officers, and employees are temporarily ENJOINED and RESTRAINED from any effort to apply or enforce, as to plaintiffs, the substantive requirements imposed” by the mandate,” said the judge’s order.

Sebelius, ObamaHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

In a press release, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, said, “Today, for the first time, a federal court has ordered the government not to enforce the HHS abortion-drug mandate against Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The ruling comes just one day after a dramatic 168-page opinion from the en banc 10th Circuit recognizing that business owners have religious liberty rights.   This was the first definitive federal appellate ruling against the HHS mandate.”

“Hobby Lobby and the Green family faced the terrible choice of violating their faith or paying massive fines starting this Monday morning,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel with the Becket Fund.  “We are delighted that both the 10th Circuit and the district court have spared them from this unjust burden on their religious freedom.”

“In its landmark opinion yesterday, the 10th Circuit majority found that ‘no one’ – not even the government – ‘disputes the sincerity of Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs,’” reads the press release.   “The court ruled that denying them the protection of federal law just because they are a profit-making business ‘would conflict with the Supreme Court’s free exercise precedent.’”

Further proceedings in the case are scheduled for July 19, 2013, in Oklahoma City.

Hobby Lobby Wins!

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Big Hobby Lobby Victory on HHS Mandate in Tenth Circuit—Part 1

By  Ed Whelan
June 27, 2013 4:12 PM

By a vote of 5 to 3, the en banc Tenth Circuit today reversed the district judge’s ruling (which I criticized here) that denied Hobby Lobby’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the HHS mandate that would require it to provide its employees insurance coverage for abortifacients.

The five judges in the majority agree that Hobby Lobby (and Mardel, owned by the same family) had demonstrated a likelihood of success on their claim under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and had satisfied the irreparable-harm prong of the preliminary-injunction standard. Four of the five judges would resolve the remaining two factors (balance of equities and public interest) in Hobby Lobby’s favor, while the fifth would remand the case to the district court for evaluation of those two factors. Because that fifth vote is controlling, the Tenth Circuit is remanding the case to the district court.

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The ruling represents a major victory for the straightforward proposition that for-profit corporations have rights under RFRA. (My law-review essay on the general proposition that the HHS mandate violates RFRA is here.)

For those keeping score at home: The majority opinion is authored by Bush 43 appointee Timothy Tymkovich and is joined by three other Republican appointees and an Obama appointee, Robert Bacharach (who is the fifth judge referred to above).

The opinions are over 160 pages. I’ll do a supplemental post when I’ve reviewed them.