Archive for the ‘Charles Krauthammer’ Category

On Health Law, GOP Faces a Formidable Policy Foe: House Republicans – New York Times


New York Times
On Health Law, GOP Faces a Formidable Policy Foe: House Republicans
New York Times
Republican leaders condemned the idea, and the 80 House Republicans who signed the letter acquired a nickname, courtesy of the conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer the suicide caucus. But it wasn't long before a bitter disagreement over …
5 ways GOP is breaking promises to voters with health planWND.com

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On Health Law, GOP Faces a Formidable Policy Foe: House Republicans – New York Times

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March 22, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Repeal of Obamacare presents variety of complexities – Sioux City Journal

WASHINGTON — The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but for governments it’s not that easy. Once something is given — say, health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans — you take it away at your peril. This is true for any government benefit, but especially for health care. There’s a reason not one Western democracy with some system of national health care has ever abolished it.

The genius of the left is to keep enlarging the entitlement state by creating new giveaways that are politically impossible to repeal. For 20 years, Republicans railed against the New Deal. Yet, when they came back into office in 1953, Eisenhower didn’t just keep Social Security, he expanded it.

People hated Obamacare for its highhandedness, incompetence and cost. At the same time, its crafters took great care to create new beneficiaries and new expectations. Which makes repeal very complicated.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that, under Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement bill, 24 million will lose insurance within 10 years, 14 million after the first year.

Granted, the number is highly suspect. CBO projects 18 million covered by the Obamacare exchanges in 2018. But the number today is about 10 million. That means the CBO estimate of those losing coverage is already about 8 million too high.

Nonetheless, there will be losers. And their stories will be plastered wall to wall across the media as sure as night follows day.

That scares GOP moderates. And yet the main resistance to Ryan comes from conservative members complaining that the bill is not ideologically pure enough. They mock it as Obamacare Lite.

For example, Ryan wants to ease the pain by phasing out Medicaid expansion through 2020. The conservative Republican Study Committee wants it done next year. This is crazy. For the sake of two year’s savings, why would you risk a political crash landing?

Moreover, the idea that you can eradicate Obamacare root and branch is fanciful. For all its catastrophic flaws, Obamacare changed expectations. Does any Republican propose returning to a time when you can be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition?

It’s not just Donald Trump who ran on retaining this new, yes, entitlement. Everyone did. But it’s very problematic. If people know that they can sign up for insurance after they get sick, the very idea of insurance is undermined. People won’t sign up when healthy and the insurance companies will go broke.

So what do you do? Obamacare imposed a monetary fine if you didn’t sign up, for which the Ryan bill substitutes another mechanism, less heavy-handed but still government-mandated.

The purists who insist upon entirely escaping the heavy hand of government are dreaming. The best you can hope for is to make it less intrusive and more rational, as in the Ryan plan’s block-granting Medicaid.

Or instituting a more realistic age-rating system. Sixty-year-olds use six times as much health care as 20-year-olds, yet Obamacare decreed, entirely arbitrarily, that the former could be charged insurance premiums no more than three times that of the latter. The GOP bill changes the ratio from 3-to-1 to 5-to-1.

Premiums better reflecting risk constitute a major restoration of rationality. (It’s how life insurance works.) Under Obamacare, the young were unwilling to be swindled and refused to sign up. Without their support, the whole system is thus headed into a death spiral of looming insolvency.

Rationality, however, has a price. The CBO has already predicted a massive increase in premiums for 60-year-olds. That’s the headline.

There is no free lunch. GOP hard-liners must accept that Americans have become accustomed to some new health care benefits, just as moderates have to brace themselves for stories about the inevitable losers in any reform. That’s the political price for fulfilling the seven-year promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Unless, of course, you go the full Machiavelli and throw it all back on the Democrats. How? Republicans could forget about meeting the arcane requirements of “reconciliation” legislation (which requires only 51 votes in the Senate) and send the Senate a replacement bill loaded up with everything conservative — including, tort reform and insurance competition across state lines. That would require 60 Senate votes. Let the Democrats filibuster it to death — and take the blame when repeal-and-replace fails, Obamacare carries on and then collapses under its own weight.

Upside: You reap the backlash. Downside: You have to live with your conscience.

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CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Repeal of Obamacare presents variety of complexities – Sioux City Journal

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March 20, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

Krauthammer: Why Attacking Gorsuch Is a ‘Losing Proposition’ for Democrats – Fox News Insider

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trumps Supreme Court nominee, goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

Theconfirmation hearing, which starts on Monday, is expected to feature heavy Democratic opposition to Gorsuch.

Charles Krauthammer believes, however, that Gorsuch is so qualified that Democrats in Trump states will be highly pressured to confirm his nomination.

“This guy’s out of central casting. This is a Gary Cooper character,” Krauthammer said on “Special Report” tonight. “Attacking him is a losing proposition.”

He said he expects Democrats to create a bunch of “noise” during the hearing to appease their base, but they will not force Republicans to use the “nuclear option.”

The “nuclear option,” as it is called on Capitol Hill, would allow Gorsuch to be confirmed with 51 votes, instead of the 60 that have traditionally been required in the Senate to break a filibuster.

Krauthammer said Democrats will instead save that strategy for the next Supreme Court nomination battle, which could be coming up soon if Justice Anthony Kennedy retires.

He said that Supreme Court appointment could swing the highest court in the land “for a generation.”

Watch more above, and see Krauthammer explain why he thinks Trump should stop “digging” on his Obama wiretap claims.

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March 20, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

Junking Obamacare: Mission Impossible? – WND.com

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017

WASHINGTON Now that Republicans finally have a chance to get rid of Obamacare, they are practically in a state of civil war over how to do it.

The situation appears dire: The stakes couldnt be much greater, tensions are rising, and even the success of the Trump presidency may be at risk before its barely begun, given that the administration is backing an Obamacare replacement plan severely criticized by many prominent conservatives.

But conservative icon Rush Limbaugh counseled, I would just be a little patient and confident.

He concluded during his Wednesday radio show: Time will tell on all this. But if you trust Trump, if thats been your state of mind since the campaign, if you trust Trump, then its not time to abandon him. He doesnt deserve being abandoned. Hes still, I think, wise to invest in.

To outline Limbaughs thinking in more detail, it may be instructive to first show how the GOP got to this point.

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Rush Limbaugh

After seven years of loudly promising to repeal and replace Obamacare if given the chance, now that they have the chance, Republicans are on the spot to deliver but seem to be almost hopelessly divided.

GOP lawmakers are fighting over whether to back a House bill, supported by the president, to repeal and replace Obamacare. They are also fighting over how to fix the bill, or whether to scrap it altogether, because it stands little chance of making it through the Senate in its current form.

Essentially, there are two camps in the GOP.

One camp does not want to repeal Obamacare without simultaneously replacing it. Led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., these Republicans are pushing the House bill called the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, which would replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The White House supports the bill but has said it is open to changes in it.

The other camp favors repealing Obamacare immediately, then replacing it as best possible in the days to come. This is favored by many leading conservatives, including prominent House members such as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. They do not support the House bill but want the GOP to keep the promise it made to voters to jettison Obamacare as quickly as possible.

The repeal camp

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has emerged as one of the leading critics of the House bill, colorfully explained his reasoning in an commentary piecepublished Wednesday in Breitbart.

Paul wrote that he would love to give the middle finger to the man that profits off of government bailouts and forces his or her monopoly brand of insurance schemes on an often worried and defenseless public.

Ridiculing the House bill as Obamacare Lite, he scorched it for keeping insurance subsidies, mandates, taxes and insurance company bailouts.

Paul charged the bill would bail out insurance companies when any of their customers become sick, as well as force patients to pay a penalty if they cant afford insurance.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

I am a career physician. I spent years training and learning to be a doctor. I did it for patients. I dont give a flip about guaranteeing the profits of insurance companies. And as a senator, I shouldnt, either, wrote Paul.

He charged that the debate had become about getting people insurance instead of getting people health care. He said health insurance is not the same as health care, as evidenced by Obamacare recipients with $6,000 deductibles.

Im sick of the insurance companies putting me on hold and telling me to talk to their representative in a foreign country. Screw that.

Obviously pulling no punches, Paul added, Im sick of the government telling me I have to buy their crappy product, and Im sick of watching us go into more and more debt to do it.

Instead, the senator wants the consumer (aka patient) to be king. I want to empower the patient to get the health care they want at the price they want.

Paul said allowing every American to join a co-op to buy health care would return the buying power to the patients.

Instead of patients having to kiss the boots of insurance company executives, my plan would have insurance executives come on bended knee to the patient.

He explained how the patient, as part of a large buying group, would be able to negotiate lower prices and a policy where you cant be dropped or ripped off if you become sick.

The patient would be able to purchase exactly the type of coverage that suited her needs, without government mandates telling her what she must buy.

Paul wrote that, as a physician and as a patient, I hate Obamacare. Obamacare jacked up insurance rates and created insurance monopolies.

But the answer, he advised, is not replacing the government mandate with an insurance mandate, which is exactly what Obamacare Lite does.

Paul echoed the sentiment of many conservatives in concluding that if the House bill were to become law it would not be keeping Republicans promise to get rid of Obamacare.

The senator also warned President Trump, who had promised to drain the swamp in Washington, that he is being taken for a ride through the swamp right now on Obamacare Lite.’

The repeal and replace camp

In a series of appearances on Fox News over the last few weeks, columnist Charles Krauthammer has explained the deep fears held by GOP leaders as to what would happen if Obamacare were to be repealed without being immediately replaced.

He ominously warned Republicans they must find a way to cover everyone who might lose their health care coverage one way or the other, or you will have a PR and political catastrophe.

And Republicans would end up watching an endless stream of suffering people on the evening news telling tales of woe about lost coverage.

What the Republicans have to do, Krauthammer advised, is to make sure there are not a huge number of people who are hurt by the transition. Thats the reason they are daunted.

And the left has a genius for ratcheting up dependency and government largess and then daring Republicans when they come into power to undo it because its extremely unpopular.

Krauthammer said the only choice was to spend whatever it takes to cover everyone who loses coverage, and forget about deficits for the short run, because you cant be counting your pennies now when there can be so many stories out there of people who are hurt and really hurting as a result of the reform.

Krauthammer said it would also be catastrophic if Republicans did not repeal Obamacare because it would be the ultimate betrayal of Trump voters.

Charles Krauthammer

So, it has to get done. The problem is, if you get it done, you own the entire system of American medicine. Obamacare is 2,000 pages. Its not one reform. Its 1,000 reformswhose interactions are complex, contradictory and unpredictable. And thats what were stuck with now. And its collapsing.

But, he said the GOP also had no choice but to replace Obamacare, even if it could not really be fully repealed because, You cannot retract an entitlement once its been granted.

He called that the genius of the left.

Krauthammer said he agreed with Sen. Paul that the GOP leaderships replacement plan really is Obamacare Lite.

But thats the best that can be done, he argued, and he said Republicansshould settle for the best deal they can get through Congress.

Krauthammer warned conservatives they are gonna have to fall on their swords and settle for less, because if they did fully repeal Obamacare, I think it would destroy the presidency.

He basically said conservatives must surrender because, Theyre going to have to concede the fact that Obama created an entitlement. And theyre now gonna transmute it into something different.

A third way?

Limbaugh had a different take, and he didnt really see the choices as necessarily limited to the two options above.

He speculated, What if Trump has a long-term plan, and what if it is to let these nimrods in the House and Senate have their turn at it and then announce they cant do anything?

And then, he continued, Trump refuses to accept failure and comes in with his own salvation or his own plan, after Congress has thrown up its hands in frustration and defeat and said we cant do it.

Limbaugh speculated the strategy might be to make sure the bill passes in the House, but to load it up with so much the Democrats object to it and send it to the Senate, where they kill it. And that way, the Democrats get blamed for it, not the Republicans.

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Limbaugh suspects Trump may have a hidden card up his sleeve largely because the talk-radio kingpin just cant buy the line of thinking reflected in Pauls assertion (above) that the president is being taken for a ride through the swamp right now on Obamacare Lite.’

Trump top adviser Steve Bannon (Photo: Twitter)

The radio host noted the senator wasnt alone, and that there are all kinds of supporters of the president who are writing op-eds warning Trump how the Republicans are tricking him.

Limbaugh scoffed at the thought.

As though Trump cant figure it out, as though (presidential adviser Steve) Bannon cant figure out whats happening, as though (presidential adviser) Kellyanne Conway is All these people say, Donald! President Trump! Be careful! Theyre tricking you! Ryans screwing you! Ryans (stammering) President Trump, wake up, as though Trump doesnt know whats going on.

Limbaugh argued, And to believe that you have to believe that all of a sudden Trump has gone stupid, and yet people are willing to accept that thats possible.

I cant just that easily accept, he asserted, that Donald Trump, who ran rings around all these people for a year-and-a-half and got elected, has all of a sudden becoming the biggest neophyte in town. Im just having trouble accepting that.

Limbaugh stated: My only point is my confidence in Trump is not shaken. My view is that Trump is triumphing time after time after time, like last night on this tax return business.

How many of you people, let me just ask you, whenever you heard, if you did last night, if you heard about or saw Rachel Maddows tweet, Weve got Trumps tax return, how many of you people had your heart sink?

And yet, Limbaugh noted, look at how it ended up.

Trump has the trophy again. Trump gets the hardware. These people, it blew up in their face.

And that was why he concluded conservatives should have faith in the Trump track record, and just be a little patient and confident.

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Krauthammer: Damage to Trump ‘Incalculable’ If Freedom Caucus Kills ObamaCare Replacement – Fox News Insider

Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday that if the conservative House Freedom caucus decides to “take down” Speaker Paul Ryan’s ObamaCare replacement bill, it will greatly damage the president and his party.

Krauthammer said on “Special Report” that the fate of the House bill depends on whether the caucus, led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), decides to vote to approve it.

If they vote against it, “the injury to the Republicans and to the Trump administration is going to be incalculable,” he said.

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Republicans must pass the bill through the House in order to keep their credibility with the voters, he said.

While Ryan is trying to “obey all the rules,” Krauthammer said “cynical” Senate Republicans could then choose to pack their version of the bill full of everything conservatives want, and dare Democrats to filibuster it.

Krauthammer said in that case, Republicans can say they tried to repeal-and-replace ObamaCare, and blame the Democrats when the entire ObamaCare system eventually collapses.

Because of “reconciliation” rules, the process by which a bill can be passed with 51 rather than 60 votes in the Senate, not all of the measures the Freedom Caucus and conservatives want to include can be part of the bill.

With Ryan abiding by all normal rules of reconciliation, the Democrats may currently have the “upper hand” on the narrative, Krauthammer said.

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March 15, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The revolt of atttorneys general – St. Augustine Record

Among the many unintended legacies of Barack Obama, one has gone largely unnoticed: the emergence of a novel form of resistance to executive overreach, a check-and-balance improvised in reaction to his various presidential power grabs.

Its the revolt of the state attorneys general, banding together to sue and curb the executive. And it has outlived Obama.

Normally one would expect Congress to be the instrument of resistance to presidential trespass. But Congress has been supine. The Democrats in particular, approving of Obamas policy preferences, allowed him free rein over Congress constitutional prerogatives.

Into that vacuum stepped the states. Florida and 12 others filed suit against Obamacare the day it was signed. They were later joined by 13 more, making their challenge the first in which a majority of states banded together to try to stop anything.

They did not always succeed, but they succeeded a lot. They got Obamacares forced Medicaid expansion struck down, though Obamacare as a whole was upheld. Later, a majority of states secured stays for two egregious EPA measures. One had given the feds sovereignty over the generation and distribution of electricity (the Clean Power Plan), the other over practically every ditch and pond in America (the waters of the United States rule).

Their most notable success was blocking Obamas executive order that essentially would have legalized 4 million illegal immigrants. If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours, said Obama. Not your job, said the courts.

Democrats noticed. And now with a Republican in the White House, theyve adopted the technique. Having lost control of Congress, they realize that one way to curb presidential power is to go through the states. They just did on President Trumps immigration ban. Taking advantage of the courts increased willingness to grant standing to the states, Washington and Minnesota got a district court to issue an injunction against Trumps executive order and got it upheld by the 9th Circuit. Where the ban died.

It was a singular victory. Democratic-run states will be emboldened to join together in opposing Trump administration measures issuing from both the agency rulings (especially EPA and the Education Department) and presidential executive orders.

Is this a good thing? Regardless of your party or policy preferences, you must admit we are witnessing a remarkable phenomenon: the organic response of a constitutional system in which the traditional barriers to overreach have atrophied and a new check-and-balance emerges almost ex nihilo.

Congress has allowed itself to become an increasingly subordinate branch. Look at how reluctant Congress has been to even consider a new authorization for the use of force abroad, an area in which, constitutionally, it should be dominant. Look at todays GOP Congress, having had years to prepare to govern, now appearing so tentative, almost paralyzed. Many Republican members, reports the Post, are eager for Trump to provide clear marching orders. The president orders, Congress marches that is not how the Founders drew it up.

Hence the state attorneys general rise to check the president and his functionaries. This is good, not because it necessarily produces the best policy outcomes. Not because judicial grants of standing are always correct. The 9th Circuit, in effect, granted Minnesota and Washington standing to represent the due process rights of Yemeni nationals whove never set foot in the United States an imaginary harm to states that presupposes imaginary rights for Yemenis.

And not because its necessarily good for the judicial system to acquire, through this process, yet more power. The elected branches really should adjudicate this. Problem is: Congress has abdicated.

Nonetheless, the revolt of the attorneys general is to be celebrated. It is a reassuring sign of the creativity and suppleness of the American Constitution, of its amphibian capacity to grow a new limb when an old one atrophies.

This is, of course, not the first time the states have asserted themselves against federal power. There was Fort Sumter, 1861, when the instruments employed were rather more blunt than the multistate lawsuit all the more reason to celebrate this modern device.

Im sure conservatives wont like many of the outcomes over the next four years, just as many liberals deeply disapproved of the Obama-blocking outcomes of the recent past.

The point, however, is not outcome but process. Remarkably, we have spontaneously developed a new one to counter executive willfulness. Theres a reason that after two and a half centuries the French are on their Fifth Republic and we are still on our first.

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CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The revolt of atttorneys general – St. Augustine Record

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Krauthammer: Trump Deserves Blame Too For Dwindling Trust in … – Newsmax

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Monday said President Donald Trump also deserves blame for the divide in the country and a dwindling trust in government institutions, Mediaite reports.

“It is a two-sided affair with the two sides undermining each other to the point where they really are in a zero-sum game to destroy one side or the other,” Krauthammer told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

O’Reilly and Krauthammer discussed the lack of cooperation by both parties two days after President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones during the 2016 presidential election.

The allegations have brought heavy discussion on the topic, with some lawmakers demanding Trump release evidence to prove his claims, including members of the Republican party. Krauthammer told O’Reilly he worried about the “trust in our institutions.”

“The fact is, once you start to chip away at the trust in the belief in the institutions, already at a historic low, then, you’ve got very little to hang onto,” he said.

When O’Reilly responded by saying the Democrats and the press had it out for Trump since the first day of his presidency, Krauthammer told him it was “wrong” to begin history with the resistance to the Trump presidency.

“Look at what happened when Barack Obama was elected and who led the movement to discredit his presidency, to say he was illegitimate, to say he should never be in the White House, because he was not born in Hawaii, but in Kenya, Donald Trump,” said Krauthammer.

“These things have a history and the history begins with the erosion of belief in the institutions. When you say that a Republican president lied us into office, you are conditioning the country to believe the absolute worst. That is, by the way, treason. When you say that this system is rigged, and I’m not even sure I recognize the results of the election, for god sakes, trump wins the election, then, he said the results were rigged.”

2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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American Friends of Magen David Adom welcomes Charles Krauthammer – Palm Beach Daily News

The Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala was a fundraiser to help save lives.

The annual event took place Feb. 26 at at The Mar-a-Lago Club and drew more than 600 supporters of American Friends of Magen David Adom.

For the first time, the gala honored an MDA emergency responder with its Humanitarian Award. David Dalfen, a senior paramedic based near Jerusalem, was recognized for his role in saving the life of a 12-year-old Israeli boy who was stabbed by two Palestinian teens in late 2015.

Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer spoke about the American political climate and its impact on Israel.

The evening began with the dedication of a new MDA ambulance sponsored by Susie and Jeffrey Levitt, while a mobile intensive care unit ambulance sponsored by Lois Pope and dedicated earlier also was on display. An MDA Medicycle sponsored by Fraeda and Bill Kopman also was dedicated.

Event chairwomen and chairmen were Dianne and Abe Bernstein and Stacey and Craig Shapiro.

The event raised $1.3 million to support Magen David Adom ambulances, equipment, training, and its new Marcus National Blood Services Center. The organization is Israels national ambulance, blood-services and disaster-relief organization.

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Krauthammer: States step in when Congress won’t do its job – Philly.com

Among the many unintended legacies of Barack Obama, one has gone largely unnoticed: the emergence of a novel form of resistance to executive overreach, a check-and-balance improvised in reaction to his various presidential power grabs. It’s the revolt of the state attorneys general, banding together to sue and curb the executive. And it has outlived Obama.

Normally one would expect Congress to be the instrument of resistance to presidential trespass. But Congress has been supine. The Democrats in particular, approving of Obama’s policy preferences, allowed him free rein over Congress’ constitutional prerogatives.

Into that vacuum stepped the states. Florida and 12 others filed suit against Obamacare the day it was signed. They were later joined by 13 others, making their challenge the first in which a majority of states banded together to try to stop anything.

They did not always succeed, but they succeeded a lot. They got Obamacare’s forced Medicaid expansion struck down, though Obamacare as a whole was upheld. Later, a majority of states secured stays for two egregious Environmental Protection Agency measures. One had given the feds sovereignty over the generation and distribution of electricity (the Clean Power Plan), the other over practically every ditch and pond in America (the Waters of the United States rule).

Their most notable success was blocking Obama’s executive order that essentially would have legalized 4 million illegal immigrants. “If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours,” said Obama. Not your job, said the courts.

Democrats noticed. And now with a Republican in the White House, they’ve adopted the technique. Having lost control of Congress, they realize that one way to curb presidential power is to go through the states. They just did on Trump’s immigration ban. Taking advantage of the courts’ increased willingness to grant “standing” to the states, Washington and Minnesota got a district court to issue an injunction against Trump’s executive order and got it upheld by the Ninth Circuit, where the ban died.

A singular victory. Democratic-run states will be emboldened to join together in opposing Trump administration measures issuing from both federal agencies (especially the EPA and Department of Education) and presidential executive orders.

Is this a good thing? Regardless of your party or policy preferences, you must admit we are witnessing a remarkable phenomenon: the organic response of a constitutional system in which the traditional barriers to overreach have atrophied and a new check-and-balance emerges almost ex nihilo.

Congress has allowed itself to become an increasingly subordinate branch. Look at how reluctant Congress has been to even consider a new authorization for the use of force abroad, an area in which, constitutionally, it should be dominant. Look at today’s GOP Congress, having had years to prepare to govern, now appearing so tentative, almost paralyzed. “Many Republican members,” reports the Washington Post, “are eager for Trump to provide clear marching orders.” The president orders, Congress marches – that is not how the Founders drew it up.

Hence the state attorneys general rise to check the president and his functionaries. This is good.

Not because it necessarily produces the best policy outcomes. It often doesn’t.

Not because judicial grants of standing are always correct. The Ninth Circuit, in effect, granted Minnesota and Washington standing to represent the due process rights of Yemeni nationals who’ve never set foot in the United States – an imaginary harm to states that presupposes imaginary rights for Yemenis. And not because it’s necessarily good for the judicial system to acquire, through this process, yet more power. This really should be adjudicated by the elected branches. Problem is: Congress has abdicated.

Nonetheless, the revolt of the AGs is to be celebrated. It is a reassuring sign of the creativity and suppleness of the American Constitution, of its amphibian capacity to grow a new limb when an old one atrophies.

This is, of course, not the first time the states have asserted themselves against federal power. There was Fort Sumter, 1861, when the instruments employed were rather more blunt than the multistate lawsuit. All the more reason to celebrate this modern device.

I’m sure conservatives won’t like many of the outcomes over the next four years, just as many liberals deeply disapproved of the Obama-blocking outcomes of the recent past.

The point, however, is not outcome but process. Remarkably, we have spontaneously developed a new one – to counter executive willfulness. There’s a reason that after two and a half centuries the French are on their Fifth Republic and we are still on our first.

Charles Krauthammer is a Washington Post columnist. letters@charleskrauthammer.com

Published: March 6, 2017 3:01 AM EST The Philadelphia Inquirer

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On Health Law, GOP Faces a Formidable Policy Foe: House Republicans – New York Times

New York Times On Health Law, GOP Faces a Formidable Policy Foe: House Republicans New York Times Republican leaders condemned the idea, and the 80 House Republicans who signed the letter acquired a nickname, courtesy of the conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer the suicide caucus. But it wasn't long before a bitter disagreement over … 5 ways GOP is breaking promises to voters with health plan WND.com all 2,933 news articles »

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March 22, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Repeal of Obamacare presents variety of complexities – Sioux City Journal

WASHINGTON — The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but for governments it’s not that easy. Once something is given — say, health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans — you take it away at your peril. This is true for any government benefit, but especially for health care. There’s a reason not one Western democracy with some system of national health care has ever abolished it. The genius of the left is to keep enlarging the entitlement state by creating new giveaways that are politically impossible to repeal. For 20 years, Republicans railed against the New Deal. Yet, when they came back into office in 1953, Eisenhower didn’t just keep Social Security, he expanded it. People hated Obamacare for its highhandedness, incompetence and cost. At the same time, its crafters took great care to create new beneficiaries and new expectations. Which makes repeal very complicated. The Congressional Budget Office projects that, under Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement bill, 24 million will lose insurance within 10 years, 14 million after the first year. Granted, the number is highly suspect. CBO projects 18 million covered by the Obamacare exchanges in 2018. But the number today is about 10 million. That means the CBO estimate of those losing coverage is already about 8 million too high. Nonetheless, there will be losers. And their stories will be plastered wall to wall across the media as sure as night follows day. That scares GOP moderates. And yet the main resistance to Ryan comes from conservative members complaining that the bill is not ideologically pure enough. They mock it as Obamacare Lite. For example, Ryan wants to ease the pain by phasing out Medicaid expansion through 2020. The conservative Republican Study Committee wants it done next year. This is crazy. For the sake of two year’s savings, why would you risk a political crash landing? Moreover, the idea that you can eradicate Obamacare root and branch is fanciful. For all its catastrophic flaws, Obamacare changed expectations. Does any Republican propose returning to a time when you can be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition? It’s not just Donald Trump who ran on retaining this new, yes, entitlement. Everyone did. But it’s very problematic. If people know that they can sign up for insurance after they get sick, the very idea of insurance is undermined. People won’t sign up when healthy and the insurance companies will go broke. So what do you do? Obamacare imposed a monetary fine if you didn’t sign up, for which the Ryan bill substitutes another mechanism, less heavy-handed but still government-mandated. The purists who insist upon entirely escaping the heavy hand of government are dreaming. The best you can hope for is to make it less intrusive and more rational, as in the Ryan plan’s block-granting Medicaid. Or instituting a more realistic age-rating system. Sixty-year-olds use six times as much health care as 20-year-olds, yet Obamacare decreed, entirely arbitrarily, that the former could be charged insurance premiums no more than three times that of the latter. The GOP bill changes the ratio from 3-to-1 to 5-to-1. Premiums better reflecting risk constitute a major restoration of rationality. (It’s how life insurance works.) Under Obamacare, the young were unwilling to be swindled and refused to sign up. Without their support, the whole system is thus headed into a death spiral of looming insolvency. Rationality, however, has a price. The CBO has already predicted a massive increase in premiums for 60-year-olds. That’s the headline. There is no free lunch. GOP hard-liners must accept that Americans have become accustomed to some new health care benefits, just as moderates have to brace themselves for stories about the inevitable losers in any reform. That’s the political price for fulfilling the seven-year promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Unless, of course, you go the full Machiavelli and throw it all back on the Democrats. How? Republicans could forget about meeting the arcane requirements of “reconciliation” legislation (which requires only 51 votes in the Senate) and send the Senate a replacement bill loaded up with everything conservative — including, tort reform and insurance competition across state lines. That would require 60 Senate votes. Let the Democrats filibuster it to death — and take the blame when repeal-and-replace fails, Obamacare carries on and then collapses under its own weight. Upside: You reap the backlash. Downside: You have to live with your conscience.

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March 20, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

Krauthammer: Why Attacking Gorsuch Is a ‘Losing Proposition’ for Democrats – Fox News Insider

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trumps Supreme Court nominee, goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. Theconfirmation hearing, which starts on Monday, is expected to feature heavy Democratic opposition to Gorsuch. Charles Krauthammer believes, however, that Gorsuch is so qualified that Democrats in Trump states will be highly pressured to confirm his nomination. “This guy’s out of central casting. This is a Gary Cooper character,” Krauthammer said on “Special Report” tonight. “Attacking him is a losing proposition.” He said he expects Democrats to create a bunch of “noise” during the hearing to appease their base, but they will not force Republicans to use the “nuclear option.” The “nuclear option,” as it is called on Capitol Hill, would allow Gorsuch to be confirmed with 51 votes, instead of the 60 that have traditionally been required in the Senate to break a filibuster. Krauthammer said Democrats will instead save that strategy for the next Supreme Court nomination battle, which could be coming up soon if Justice Anthony Kennedy retires. He said that Supreme Court appointment could swing the highest court in the land “for a generation.” Watch more above, and see Krauthammer explain why he thinks Trump should stop “digging” on his Obama wiretap claims. White House Tells All VA Facilities to Hang President’s Portrait Trump Declares ‘ObamaCare Is Dead,’ Says He Backs GOP Plan ‘100 Percent’ ‘Things I Learned Today’: Hillary Mocks Trump, Tillerson on Twitter

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March 20, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

Junking Obamacare: Mission Impossible? – WND.com

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017 WASHINGTON Now that Republicans finally have a chance to get rid of Obamacare, they are practically in a state of civil war over how to do it. The situation appears dire: The stakes couldnt be much greater, tensions are rising, and even the success of the Trump presidency may be at risk before its barely begun, given that the administration is backing an Obamacare replacement plan severely criticized by many prominent conservatives. But conservative icon Rush Limbaugh counseled, I would just be a little patient and confident. He concluded during his Wednesday radio show: Time will tell on all this. But if you trust Trump, if thats been your state of mind since the campaign, if you trust Trump, then its not time to abandon him. He doesnt deserve being abandoned. Hes still, I think, wise to invest in. To outline Limbaughs thinking in more detail, it may be instructive to first show how the GOP got to this point. Like the reporting you see here? Sign up for free news alerts from WND.com, Americas independent news network. Rush Limbaugh After seven years of loudly promising to repeal and replace Obamacare if given the chance, now that they have the chance, Republicans are on the spot to deliver but seem to be almost hopelessly divided. GOP lawmakers are fighting over whether to back a House bill, supported by the president, to repeal and replace Obamacare. They are also fighting over how to fix the bill, or whether to scrap it altogether, because it stands little chance of making it through the Senate in its current form. Essentially, there are two camps in the GOP. One camp does not want to repeal Obamacare without simultaneously replacing it. Led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., these Republicans are pushing the House bill called the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, which would replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The White House supports the bill but has said it is open to changes in it. The other camp favors repealing Obamacare immediately, then replacing it as best possible in the days to come. This is favored by many leading conservatives, including prominent House members such as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. They do not support the House bill but want the GOP to keep the promise it made to voters to jettison Obamacare as quickly as possible. The repeal camp Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has emerged as one of the leading critics of the House bill, colorfully explained his reasoning in an commentary piecepublished Wednesday in Breitbart. Paul wrote that he would love to give the middle finger to the man that profits off of government bailouts and forces his or her monopoly brand of insurance schemes on an often worried and defenseless public. Ridiculing the House bill as Obamacare Lite, he scorched it for keeping insurance subsidies, mandates, taxes and insurance company bailouts. Paul charged the bill would bail out insurance companies when any of their customers become sick, as well as force patients to pay a penalty if they cant afford insurance. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. I am a career physician. I spent years training and learning to be a doctor. I did it for patients. I dont give a flip about guaranteeing the profits of insurance companies. And as a senator, I shouldnt, either, wrote Paul. He charged that the debate had become about getting people insurance instead of getting people health care. He said health insurance is not the same as health care, as evidenced by Obamacare recipients with $6,000 deductibles. Im sick of the insurance companies putting me on hold and telling me to talk to their representative in a foreign country. Screw that. Obviously pulling no punches, Paul added, Im sick of the government telling me I have to buy their crappy product, and Im sick of watching us go into more and more debt to do it. Instead, the senator wants the consumer (aka patient) to be king. I want to empower the patient to get the health care they want at the price they want. Paul said allowing every American to join a co-op to buy health care would return the buying power to the patients. Instead of patients having to kiss the boots of insurance company executives, my plan would have insurance executives come on bended knee to the patient. He explained how the patient, as part of a large buying group, would be able to negotiate lower prices and a policy where you cant be dropped or ripped off if you become sick. The patient would be able to purchase exactly the type of coverage that suited her needs, without government mandates telling her what she must buy. Paul wrote that, as a physician and as a patient, I hate Obamacare. Obamacare jacked up insurance rates and created insurance monopolies. But the answer, he advised, is not replacing the government mandate with an insurance mandate, which is exactly what Obamacare Lite does. Paul echoed the sentiment of many conservatives in concluding that if the House bill were to become law it would not be keeping Republicans promise to get rid of Obamacare. The senator also warned President Trump, who had promised to drain the swamp in Washington, that he is being taken for a ride through the swamp right now on Obamacare Lite.’ The repeal and replace camp In a series of appearances on Fox News over the last few weeks, columnist Charles Krauthammer has explained the deep fears held by GOP leaders as to what would happen if Obamacare were to be repealed without being immediately replaced. He ominously warned Republicans they must find a way to cover everyone who might lose their health care coverage one way or the other, or you will have a PR and political catastrophe. And Republicans would end up watching an endless stream of suffering people on the evening news telling tales of woe about lost coverage. What the Republicans have to do, Krauthammer advised, is to make sure there are not a huge number of people who are hurt by the transition. Thats the reason they are daunted. And the left has a genius for ratcheting up dependency and government largess and then daring Republicans when they come into power to undo it because its extremely unpopular. Krauthammer said the only choice was to spend whatever it takes to cover everyone who loses coverage, and forget about deficits for the short run, because you cant be counting your pennies now when there can be so many stories out there of people who are hurt and really hurting as a result of the reform. Krauthammer said it would also be catastrophic if Republicans did not repeal Obamacare because it would be the ultimate betrayal of Trump voters. Charles Krauthammer So, it has to get done. The problem is, if you get it done, you own the entire system of American medicine. Obamacare is 2,000 pages. Its not one reform. Its 1,000 reformswhose interactions are complex, contradictory and unpredictable. And thats what were stuck with now. And its collapsing. But, he said the GOP also had no choice but to replace Obamacare, even if it could not really be fully repealed because, You cannot retract an entitlement once its been granted. He called that the genius of the left. Krauthammer said he agreed with Sen. Paul that the GOP leaderships replacement plan really is Obamacare Lite. But thats the best that can be done, he argued, and he said Republicansshould settle for the best deal they can get through Congress. Krauthammer warned conservatives they are gonna have to fall on their swords and settle for less, because if they did fully repeal Obamacare, I think it would destroy the presidency. He basically said conservatives must surrender because, Theyre going to have to concede the fact that Obama created an entitlement. And theyre now gonna transmute it into something different. A third way? Limbaugh had a different take, and he didnt really see the choices as necessarily limited to the two options above. He speculated, What if Trump has a long-term plan, and what if it is to let these nimrods in the House and Senate have their turn at it and then announce they cant do anything? And then, he continued, Trump refuses to accept failure and comes in with his own salvation or his own plan, after Congress has thrown up its hands in frustration and defeat and said we cant do it. Limbaugh speculated the strategy might be to make sure the bill passes in the House, but to load it up with so much the Democrats object to it and send it to the Senate, where they kill it. And that way, the Democrats get blamed for it, not the Republicans. Get the hottest, most important news stories on the Internet delivered FREE to your inbox as soon as they break! Take just 30 seconds and sign up for WNDs Email News Alerts! Limbaugh suspects Trump may have a hidden card up his sleeve largely because the talk-radio kingpin just cant buy the line of thinking reflected in Pauls assertion (above) that the president is being taken for a ride through the swamp right now on Obamacare Lite.’ Trump top adviser Steve Bannon (Photo: Twitter) The radio host noted the senator wasnt alone, and that there are all kinds of supporters of the president who are writing op-eds warning Trump how the Republicans are tricking him. Limbaugh scoffed at the thought. As though Trump cant figure it out, as though (presidential adviser Steve) Bannon cant figure out whats happening, as though (presidential adviser) Kellyanne Conway is All these people say, Donald! President Trump! Be careful! Theyre tricking you! Ryans screwing you! Ryans (stammering) President Trump, wake up, as though Trump doesnt know whats going on. Limbaugh argued, And to believe that you have to believe that all of a sudden Trump has gone stupid, and yet people are willing to accept that thats possible. I cant just that easily accept, he asserted, that Donald Trump, who ran rings around all these people for a year-and-a-half and got elected, has all of a sudden becoming the biggest neophyte in town. Im just having trouble accepting that. Limbaugh stated: My only point is my confidence in Trump is not shaken. My view is that Trump is triumphing time after time after time, like last night on this tax return business. How many of you people, let me just ask you, whenever you heard, if you did last night, if you heard about or saw Rachel Maddows tweet, Weve got Trumps tax return, how many of you people had your heart sink? And yet, Limbaugh noted, look at how it ended up. Trump has the trophy again. Trump gets the hardware. These people, it blew up in their face. And that was why he concluded conservatives should have faith in the Trump track record, and just be a little patient and confident.

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March 17, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

Krauthammer: Damage to Trump ‘Incalculable’ If Freedom Caucus Kills ObamaCare Replacement – Fox News Insider

Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday that if the conservative House Freedom caucus decides to “take down” Speaker Paul Ryan’s ObamaCare replacement bill, it will greatly damage the president and his party. Krauthammer said on “Special Report” that the fate of the House bill depends on whether the caucus, led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), decides to vote to approve it. If they vote against it, “the injury to the Republicans and to the Trump administration is going to be incalculable,” he said. ‘This is Ancient History’: Ryan Blasts Leaked Audio of Him Criticizing Trump Pelosi Demands GOP Strip King of Leadership Position Over Immigration Tweet LOOK: Joe Biden Picked His Favorite ‘Biden Meme’ Republicans must pass the bill through the House in order to keep their credibility with the voters, he said. While Ryan is trying to “obey all the rules,” Krauthammer said “cynical” Senate Republicans could then choose to pack their version of the bill full of everything conservatives want, and dare Democrats to filibuster it. Krauthammer said in that case, Republicans can say they tried to repeal-and-replace ObamaCare, and blame the Democrats when the entire ObamaCare system eventually collapses. Because of “reconciliation” rules, the process by which a bill can be passed with 51 rather than 60 votes in the Senate, not all of the measures the Freedom Caucus and conservatives want to include can be part of the bill. With Ryan abiding by all normal rules of reconciliation, the Democrats may currently have the “upper hand” on the narrative, Krauthammer said. Ashley Judd ‘Scared’ at NCAA Game When Man Said ‘We Like Trump’ McCain: If GOP ‘Blows’ ObamaCare Replacement, It Helps Dems in 2018 West: Snoop Dogg Should Be Investigated for Trump Mock Assassination Video

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March 15, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The revolt of atttorneys general – St. Augustine Record

Among the many unintended legacies of Barack Obama, one has gone largely unnoticed: the emergence of a novel form of resistance to executive overreach, a check-and-balance improvised in reaction to his various presidential power grabs. Its the revolt of the state attorneys general, banding together to sue and curb the executive. And it has outlived Obama. Normally one would expect Congress to be the instrument of resistance to presidential trespass. But Congress has been supine. The Democrats in particular, approving of Obamas policy preferences, allowed him free rein over Congress constitutional prerogatives. Into that vacuum stepped the states. Florida and 12 others filed suit against Obamacare the day it was signed. They were later joined by 13 more, making their challenge the first in which a majority of states banded together to try to stop anything. They did not always succeed, but they succeeded a lot. They got Obamacares forced Medicaid expansion struck down, though Obamacare as a whole was upheld. Later, a majority of states secured stays for two egregious EPA measures. One had given the feds sovereignty over the generation and distribution of electricity (the Clean Power Plan), the other over practically every ditch and pond in America (the waters of the United States rule). Their most notable success was blocking Obamas executive order that essentially would have legalized 4 million illegal immigrants. If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours, said Obama. Not your job, said the courts. Democrats noticed. And now with a Republican in the White House, theyve adopted the technique. Having lost control of Congress, they realize that one way to curb presidential power is to go through the states. They just did on President Trumps immigration ban. Taking advantage of the courts increased willingness to grant standing to the states, Washington and Minnesota got a district court to issue an injunction against Trumps executive order and got it upheld by the 9th Circuit. Where the ban died. It was a singular victory. Democratic-run states will be emboldened to join together in opposing Trump administration measures issuing from both the agency rulings (especially EPA and the Education Department) and presidential executive orders. Is this a good thing? Regardless of your party or policy preferences, you must admit we are witnessing a remarkable phenomenon: the organic response of a constitutional system in which the traditional barriers to overreach have atrophied and a new check-and-balance emerges almost ex nihilo. Congress has allowed itself to become an increasingly subordinate branch. Look at how reluctant Congress has been to even consider a new authorization for the use of force abroad, an area in which, constitutionally, it should be dominant. Look at todays GOP Congress, having had years to prepare to govern, now appearing so tentative, almost paralyzed. Many Republican members, reports the Post, are eager for Trump to provide clear marching orders. The president orders, Congress marches that is not how the Founders drew it up. Hence the state attorneys general rise to check the president and his functionaries. This is good, not because it necessarily produces the best policy outcomes. Not because judicial grants of standing are always correct. The 9th Circuit, in effect, granted Minnesota and Washington standing to represent the due process rights of Yemeni nationals whove never set foot in the United States an imaginary harm to states that presupposes imaginary rights for Yemenis. And not because its necessarily good for the judicial system to acquire, through this process, yet more power. The elected branches really should adjudicate this. Problem is: Congress has abdicated. Nonetheless, the revolt of the attorneys general is to be celebrated. It is a reassuring sign of the creativity and suppleness of the American Constitution, of its amphibian capacity to grow a new limb when an old one atrophies. This is, of course, not the first time the states have asserted themselves against federal power. There was Fort Sumter, 1861, when the instruments employed were rather more blunt than the multistate lawsuit all the more reason to celebrate this modern device. Im sure conservatives wont like many of the outcomes over the next four years, just as many liberals deeply disapproved of the Obama-blocking outcomes of the recent past. The point, however, is not outcome but process. Remarkably, we have spontaneously developed a new one to counter executive willfulness. Theres a reason that after two and a half centuries the French are on their Fifth Republic and we are still on our first.

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March 15, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

Krauthammer: Trump Deserves Blame Too For Dwindling Trust in … – Newsmax

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Monday said President Donald Trump also deserves blame for the divide in the country and a dwindling trust in government institutions, Mediaite reports. “It is a two-sided affair with the two sides undermining each other to the point where they really are in a zero-sum game to destroy one side or the other,” Krauthammer told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly and Krauthammer discussed the lack of cooperation by both parties two days after President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones during the 2016 presidential election. The allegations have brought heavy discussion on the topic, with some lawmakers demanding Trump release evidence to prove his claims, including members of the Republican party. Krauthammer told O’Reilly he worried about the “trust in our institutions.” “The fact is, once you start to chip away at the trust in the belief in the institutions, already at a historic low, then, you’ve got very little to hang onto,” he said. When O’Reilly responded by saying the Democrats and the press had it out for Trump since the first day of his presidency, Krauthammer told him it was “wrong” to begin history with the resistance to the Trump presidency. “Look at what happened when Barack Obama was elected and who led the movement to discredit his presidency, to say he was illegitimate, to say he should never be in the White House, because he was not born in Hawaii, but in Kenya, Donald Trump,” said Krauthammer. “These things have a history and the history begins with the erosion of belief in the institutions. When you say that a Republican president lied us into office, you are conditioning the country to believe the absolute worst. That is, by the way, treason. When you say that this system is rigged, and I’m not even sure I recognize the results of the election, for god sakes, trump wins the election, then, he said the results were rigged.” 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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March 12, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

American Friends of Magen David Adom welcomes Charles Krauthammer – Palm Beach Daily News

The Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala was a fundraiser to help save lives. The annual event took place Feb. 26 at at The Mar-a-Lago Club and drew more than 600 supporters of American Friends of Magen David Adom. For the first time, the gala honored an MDA emergency responder with its Humanitarian Award. David Dalfen, a senior paramedic based near Jerusalem, was recognized for his role in saving the life of a 12-year-old Israeli boy who was stabbed by two Palestinian teens in late 2015. Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer spoke about the American political climate and its impact on Israel. The evening began with the dedication of a new MDA ambulance sponsored by Susie and Jeffrey Levitt, while a mobile intensive care unit ambulance sponsored by Lois Pope and dedicated earlier also was on display. An MDA Medicycle sponsored by Fraeda and Bill Kopman also was dedicated. Event chairwomen and chairmen were Dianne and Abe Bernstein and Stacey and Craig Shapiro. The event raised $1.3 million to support Magen David Adom ambulances, equipment, training, and its new Marcus National Blood Services Center. The organization is Israels national ambulance, blood-services and disaster-relief organization.

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March 12, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed

Krauthammer: States step in when Congress won’t do its job – Philly.com

Among the many unintended legacies of Barack Obama, one has gone largely unnoticed: the emergence of a novel form of resistance to executive overreach, a check-and-balance improvised in reaction to his various presidential power grabs. It’s the revolt of the state attorneys general, banding together to sue and curb the executive. And it has outlived Obama. Normally one would expect Congress to be the instrument of resistance to presidential trespass. But Congress has been supine. The Democrats in particular, approving of Obama’s policy preferences, allowed him free rein over Congress’ constitutional prerogatives. Into that vacuum stepped the states. Florida and 12 others filed suit against Obamacare the day it was signed. They were later joined by 13 others, making their challenge the first in which a majority of states banded together to try to stop anything. They did not always succeed, but they succeeded a lot. They got Obamacare’s forced Medicaid expansion struck down, though Obamacare as a whole was upheld. Later, a majority of states secured stays for two egregious Environmental Protection Agency measures. One had given the feds sovereignty over the generation and distribution of electricity (the Clean Power Plan), the other over practically every ditch and pond in America (the Waters of the United States rule). Their most notable success was blocking Obama’s executive order that essentially would have legalized 4 million illegal immigrants. “If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours,” said Obama. Not your job, said the courts. Democrats noticed. And now with a Republican in the White House, they’ve adopted the technique. Having lost control of Congress, they realize that one way to curb presidential power is to go through the states. They just did on Trump’s immigration ban. Taking advantage of the courts’ increased willingness to grant “standing” to the states, Washington and Minnesota got a district court to issue an injunction against Trump’s executive order and got it upheld by the Ninth Circuit, where the ban died. A singular victory. Democratic-run states will be emboldened to join together in opposing Trump administration measures issuing from both federal agencies (especially the EPA and Department of Education) and presidential executive orders. Is this a good thing? Regardless of your party or policy preferences, you must admit we are witnessing a remarkable phenomenon: the organic response of a constitutional system in which the traditional barriers to overreach have atrophied and a new check-and-balance emerges almost ex nihilo. Congress has allowed itself to become an increasingly subordinate branch. Look at how reluctant Congress has been to even consider a new authorization for the use of force abroad, an area in which, constitutionally, it should be dominant. Look at today’s GOP Congress, having had years to prepare to govern, now appearing so tentative, almost paralyzed. “Many Republican members,” reports the Washington Post, “are eager for Trump to provide clear marching orders.” The president orders, Congress marches – that is not how the Founders drew it up. Hence the state attorneys general rise to check the president and his functionaries. This is good. Not because it necessarily produces the best policy outcomes. It often doesn’t. Not because judicial grants of standing are always correct. The Ninth Circuit, in effect, granted Minnesota and Washington standing to represent the due process rights of Yemeni nationals who’ve never set foot in the United States – an imaginary harm to states that presupposes imaginary rights for Yemenis. And not because it’s necessarily good for the judicial system to acquire, through this process, yet more power. This really should be adjudicated by the elected branches. Problem is: Congress has abdicated. Nonetheless, the revolt of the AGs is to be celebrated. It is a reassuring sign of the creativity and suppleness of the American Constitution, of its amphibian capacity to grow a new limb when an old one atrophies. This is, of course, not the first time the states have asserted themselves against federal power. There was Fort Sumter, 1861, when the instruments employed were rather more blunt than the multistate lawsuit. All the more reason to celebrate this modern device. I’m sure conservatives won’t like many of the outcomes over the next four years, just as many liberals deeply disapproved of the Obama-blocking outcomes of the recent past. The point, however, is not outcome but process. Remarkably, we have spontaneously developed a new one – to counter executive willfulness. There’s a reason that after two and a half centuries the French are on their Fifth Republic and we are still on our first. Charles Krauthammer is a Washington Post columnist. letters@charleskrauthammer.com Published: March 6, 2017 3:01 AM EST The Philadelphia Inquirer Over the past year, the Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com have uncovered corruption in local and state public offices, shed light on hidden and dangerous environmental risks, and deeply examined the regions growing heroin epidemic. This is indispensable journalism, brought to you by the largest, most experienced newsroom in the region. Fact-based journalism of this caliber isnt cheap. We need your support to keep our talented reporters, editors and photographers holding government accountable, looking out for the public interest, and separating fact from fiction. If you already subscribe, thank you. If not, please consider doing so by clicking on the button below. Subscriptions can be home delivered in print, or digitally read on nearly any mobile device or computer, and start as low as 25 per day. We’re thankful for your support in every way.

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March 12, 2017   Posted in: Charles Krauthammer  Comments Closed


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