Two Big First Amendment SCOTUS Decisions

The Supreme Court handed down two big decisions today (5-4, predictably), one striking down parts of the Obamacare contraception mandate, the other allowing certain employees to opt out of union membership. The Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision notes that since HHS has already carved out some exemptions for religious institutions to be exempt from the contraception mandate, freedom of conscience allows of owners of “closely held” businesses to do the same for some of the contraceptives involved.  Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion for this narrow, but important ruling. The Harris v. Quinn decision was also defined narrowly:  public sector unions cannot collect dues from home health care workers if those workers do not want to be part of the union, in this case SEIU, a notoriously aggressive union. Pretty straight forward First Amendment case too. It’s nice to see that at least five of our esteemed oligarchs justices come down supporting the First Amendment from time to time.

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Two Big First Amendment SCOTUS Decisions


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The Brat Who Ousted a Majority Leader

Last evening a political earthquake took place that everyone is still trying to absorb.  Eric Cantor became the first sitting House Majority Leader to ever lose a primary (at least since the position was created in the 1890s).  That’s big, especially since his opponent was a little known college professor named Dave Brat, who won with 56% of the vote . Cantor was on the path to perhaps being House Speaker one day, but instead will likely join the K-Street lobbyist crowd this January.  I’m sure he’ll be fine. However, the Establishment lost one of their top brass and should be concerned .  Cantor’s campaign spent $5 million to Brat’s $200,000.  Cantor’s name ID in his district is near 100%.  As Brat said, “Dollars don’t vote, you do” — a very troubling prospect for the Chamber of Commerce and the GOP Establishment.  If money loses its monopoly on the selection and manipulation of the members of one’s caucus, then the game really has changed. Yet, one election does not make a game-change, but the message is clear to our ruling class elites — no one is completely safe from the judgment of the people. It’s very refreshing.

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The Brat Who Ousted a Majority Leader


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Reid’s Interest in Those “Domestic Terrorists”

After the recent Bundy Ranch fiasco finally died down , Nevada Senator Harry Reid jumped into the mix, calling those who descended to the ranch to support Clive Bundy “ domestic terrorists .”  While this kind of hyperbole is completely uncalled for (especially for the Senate Majority Leader) and diminishes the meaning of “terrorist,” Reid doubled down on the statement a few days later! While some are still very upset about the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) lack of a proportionate response to Bundy’s tax issues, others have been having some fun with it — including wearing “Domestic Terrorist” name tags to demonstrate Reid’s ridiculousness! The crazy thing is, the federal government could have simply put a lien on Bundy’s property in order to get the money it needs rather than seize his property with armed agents and attack dogs.  So why the brazen display of power? Interestingly, Harry Reid’s son represented a Chinese firm to which the feds were going to hand over this particular grazing land so this Chinese company could build a $5 billion solar plant on the land.  Reid himself pushed the deal through.  After things escalated, the BLM took that information off its website and the shock troops backed off. Reid’s entry into this by trying to paint the Bundy and his supporters as dangerous suddenly starts to make perfect sense.  Following the money clarifies much about our politics these days.

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Reid’s Interest in Those “Domestic Terrorists”


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Movie Review–Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel’s latest comic book adaptation, Captain America: The Winter Soldier , hit theaters this weekend with both a fun and highly political message.  The reviews are in and Winter Soldier is definitely worth the price of admission.

It’s even received Glenn Beck’s seal of approval (which is very hard to get for a big-budget Hollywood film).  Plus, the film’s own directors admit that the film is an allegory critical of the Obama-era policy of targeted drone strikes and mass surveillance !

I haven’t been to the movies in a while, but the great reviews along with the political intrigue got my butt to the theaters. The film itself deals with Captain America coping with his new role in the 21st Century.  He’s adapting pretty well, but begins to learn a terrible truth about some members of his agency, SHIELD, and has a moral conflict — he’s supposed to be part of a law enforcement agency tasked with helping the people, but discovers a plot which seeks to permanently curtail our freedoms for the sake of peace and order.

It’s very relevant to today’s headlines, bringing in the “Winter Soldier,” an old Soviet-era assassin with an important secret! I will say no more — there are elements of the plot to spoil.  This movie is politically relevant, filled with action and adventure (along with the perennially uber-hot Scarlett Johansson).

One leaves the theater thinking.  In fact, I feel this to be the best comic book political satire since The Dark Knight (which I still think is brilliant allegory of the War on Terror).

Unfortunately, in order to understand everything about this film, you kind of have to see the first Captain America , The Avengers , Iron Man 3 , and Pulp Fiction (Pulp Fiction? You’ll see — it’s only a two second scene, but it’s hilarious if you catch it).

Overall, I give the movie an A- but those just coming off the street without knowing all the references to those other films, you may give it a high B .

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Movie Review–Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 Movie Review–Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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BridgeGate: New Emails Link Christie Political Strategist to Port Authority Officials

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey– A new series of emails links senior Christie administration political strategist Mike DuHaime to the main perpetrators of the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge last year, placing known BridgeGate culprits one step closer to Governor Chris Christie. The Star-Ledger

 BridgeGate: New Emails Link Christie Political Strategist to Port Authority Officials

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