The Republican alternative to Obamacare

Conservatives in Congress put forward their proposed alternative to Obamacare.  It basically expands health savings accounts, passes malpractice reform,  and allows for the purchase of health insurance across state lines. [Read more…]

Supreme Court to consider Morning After pill mandate

The Supreme Court is considering whether or not to hear a case involving a Christian business owner who objects to the Obamacare mandate that he must offer his employees free contraceptives and morning after pills.  Most observers think the court will hear the case.  If it does not, the requirement will stand.  At issue is whether religious liberty extends to how believers live out their faith in their businesses. [Read more…]

Defund Obamacare or shut down the government

Republicans in Congress say they will agree to stop the impending shutdown of the federal government only if Democrats agree to defund Obamacare.  Does this strike you as a disastrous strategy? [Read more…]

The Left-Right coalition

The same Congressional coalition of Tea Party conservatives and far-left liberals that blocked an attack on Syria also came close to reining in the NSA surveillance program.  Washington Post political columnist Greg Sargent sees an on-going alliance coming together. [Read more…]

Obamacare and confidentiality

One of the features of Obamacare is to require electronic medical records, which will supposedly save lots of money by allowing doctors of all types to plug into your medical history.  That creates, though, a vast network under government control that violates the principle, enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath, of physician/patient confidentiality.  And the required medical records include “social questions,” asking every American detailed questions about things like your sex life and whether or not you have ever taken drugs.  Privacy activists, from both the left and the right, are alarmed. [Read more…]

Defining who gets Constitutional rights

A Senate committee approved a “media shield” bill designed to protect journalists from having to reveal their sources and giving them protection from government surveillance.  In doing so, the bill defines who gets to be a journalist.  To get these protections, you have to be a paid, professional employee of a recognized news organization.  Bloggers aren’t protected.  I might be because of my past work for World Magazine.  But not, presumably, Matt Drudge, who has often broken stories from confidential sources, including President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Beyond this particular law is a bigger question.  The Constitution guarantees freedom of “the press.”  Is that to apply only to professional journalists?  Or to those who own printing presses, namely, newspaper companies and publishing houses?  At the time of the Constitution, individuals like Ben Franklin–who could hardly be considered a professional news reporter– ran their own printing presses, printing their political opinions and commenting on the news of the day.  The internet in effect allows just about everybody to have their own printing press.  Shouldn’t freedom of the press extend to what you write on a blog or your FaceBook page?

And might other Constitutional rights be restricted by defining who they apply to?  Isn’t this already happening in the way some are construing civil liberties?  “You have the right to keep and bear arms.  That is, you have the right to join the National Guard and to keep your arms in the local armory.”  “You have freedom of religion.  No one will stop you from going to church, and we won’t make your church pay for morning after pills.  Just don’t act on your religious beliefs in the way you run your business.”  “You have freedom of speech, which entitles you to use pornography.  But don’t criticize homosexuality in public.” [Read more…]


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