Although the Obama administration has been a bit more forthcoming lately in its admission of its policy of using drones to kill enemies by remote control, there is still an official reluctance to let too much information reach the public.

In the last year or so, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a group of reporters have filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) petitions requesting that the federal government provide greater access to operational details of the drone program and the legal arguments forwarded by the Obama administration in justifying not only the use of the drones, but their use in the killing of thousands in Pakistan alone.

Despite Thursday’s controversial Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare, states retain the right and authority to nullify the healthcare law, and the state of Missouri, among many others, is undertaking efforts to do just that. According to Missouri legislators, regardless of the High Court's ruling, Missouri voters will maintain the opportunity to vote for or against the so-called Affordable Healthcare Act in November. And Missouri is not the only state seeking to circumvent ObamaCare.

Now that the Supreme Court has delivered its final verdict on ObamaCare, which upheld the law’s contentious individual mandate, insurance providers and industry groups are warning of even greater premium increases on Americans’ health plans. While President Obama touted the law as a cost-savior for the healthcare industry — going so far as to call it the “Affordable Care Act” — insurance premiums have consistently risen ever since the law was enacted.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry’s chief lobbying group, issued a statement following the ruling, stressing the importance of “secure, affordable coverage choices,” but saying that “major provisions, such as the premium tax, will have unintended consequences of raising costs and disrupting coverage unless they are addressed.” AHIP CEO Karen Ignagni suggested that due to the inflated costs, “it’s time for people to roll up their sleeves and look very carefully at those provisions.”

We’re all familiar with the classic Shell Game. We follow the ball. We know the huckster's tricks and we know he is moving it around to trip us up, but we believe our eyes are faster than the huckster’s hands.

Since the day in November of last year when the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the ObamaCare case, Americans have watched the ball of the individual mandate. We reckoned that we knew where the huckster was going to put it and some of us thought there was even a chance that it would fall off the table completely.

Then yesterday, after we all had placed our bets, confident that it would show up under the Commerce Clause shell, the huckster ended the game by revealing the location of the individual mandate ball: It was under the Taxation Clause shell. We all guessed wrong and we all lost.

Battling over a transportation bill that now also addresses student-loan interest rates, congressional lawmakers are scrambling to appease their constituents in a legislative boondoggle littered with election-year politics. Aimed for final passage this week, the legislation intends to extend federal highway funding, prevent new student-loan interest rates from doubling, renew and revise federal flood insurance, and a slew of other provisions.

If Congress does not reach a decision by Saturday, the federal government’s ability to administer road, mass transit, and other transportation-related programs will be vanquished, along with its authority to impose the gasoline taxes that subsidize most of those programs.

 

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