With the liability of being forced to finance employees' abortions taken off its back by the recent Supreme Court voiding of the Obamacare mandate, Hobby Lobby announced it is raising the minimum wage of its full-time employees to $14.50 per hour.
Aspiring presidential candidate Hillary Clinton dubbed the move "a callous and insensitive slap in the face to American women. This company went to a lot of effort to deny its responsibility to insure the reproductive health of its female employees. Now that they've won a totally unfair verdict in court they're insulting these imperiled women by investing the costs averted into boosting the pay of their entire workforce. This is wrong on so many levels."
One of these levels according to Clinton is "the attempt to destroy worker solidarity. The timing of the hike in wages conveys the message that the benefits the Government is trying to secure for women impede the pay the company is able to offer other employees. This insidiously pits one employee against another and undermines the incentive for all to band together against management for the common good."
Another wrong cited by Clinton was "a blatant disrespect for the role Government is trying to play in raising the minimum wage across the board. The $14.50 figure exceeds the $10.10 targeted by Congressional Democrats in the Fair Minimum Wage Act (HR 1010). In effect, Hobby Lobby's management is telling their employees that the Government's efforts are irrelevant. If left unchecked it could create an environment where each company's labor and management are persuaded that wages are a private rather than a public issue."
Sponsor of HR 1010, Representative George Miller (D-Calif) lamented "the negative impact this rogue decision by an arrogant employer will have on our push to enact a federal hike of the minimum wage. Hobby Lobby has parlayed its triumph over the Government's Affordable Care Act into an opportunity to flout its independence from our regulatory power over wages."
Feds Say Businesses Can't Require Employees to Speak or Understand English
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. of Green Bay, Wisconsin for discriminating against non-native persons by insisting that employees must be conversant in English in order to hold jobs with the company.
Jacqueline Berrien, EEOC Chairperson dismissed the possibility that some minimal competence in the English language might be a legitimate skill required of an employee. "Whether an employee understands English is a matter of convenience for the business,":Berrien explained. "Granted, conducting business in a single language might be more efficient. But the individual's right to speak whatever language he chooses is a human right. And human rights take precedence over economic efficiency."
"The employer has the option of hiring translators to act as intermediaries between workers and managers who speak different languages," Berrien pointed out. "They can also purchase insurance to cover any damages that might occur due to mishaps springing from miscommunications rooted in language barriers."
Berrien conceded that barring firms from requiring English comprehension among employees would raise the cost of doing business, but insisted that "this is a small price to pay for preserving individual human rights. Besides, the extra costs imposed on Wisconsin Plastics would be offset by the added employment of translators, insurance vendors, and tort lawyers."
President Urges Israel to Exercise Restraint
This week's discovery of the decomposing bodies of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered by members of the Hamas terror organization last week sparked diverse reactions from key leaders.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed retribution. Hamas's Khalad Mashaal blessed the hands of the murderers. President Obama urged Israeli leaders to "exercise restraint and not take action that would destabilize the situation."
While admitting that "from a Western perspective the murder of innocent civilians appears an inexcusable atrocity," President Obama cautioned that "this is not the only perspective worthy of consideration. As the Palestinians see it, all Jews living in the region are legitimate targets. Given that Hamas is too weak to directly confront the Israeli Army its tactic of striking at softer targets is understandable."
"From a historical point of view, Jews being victimized has been pretty much the norm all over the world," Obama recalled. "That is the stable condition. Jews striking back is abnormal and, as such, would tend to be destabilizing. I think the Israeli leaders should weigh accepting a few casualties as the price of preserving stability rather than flying off the handle and risking a greater loss of life on both sides."
While Obama was eager to dampen down Israeli outrage over the murder of the Jewish teenagers he seemed to have no qualms about inflaming Palestinian passions over the murder of Arab teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir, calling this crime "heinous." Secretary of State John Kerry added that "there are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people."
Though Hamas, Obama, and Kerry appear to have assumed Khdeir was killed in retaliation for the murdered Jewish teens, suspicion has arisen that he may have been killed by his own family members for dishonoring them via his gay lifestyle.
Senator Suggests President "Borrow" Power to Solve Immigration Problem
Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) suggests that President Obama "borrow some of the unused legislative power Congress is sitting on to solve the immigration problem."
"I know some of my Republican friends across the aisle will insist that the power to enact laws is exclusively reserved to Congress under our Constitution," Durbin acknowledged. "However, an even older common law principle is that a right left dormant for an extended period lapses and may be taken up by a more energetic party. The need for immigration reform has been known for a long time, yet Congress has neglected to pass legislation. So it seems to me that Congress has effectively abandoned its property in legislative authority. Why shouldn't the President borrow this authority and do what Congress has failed to do?"
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised that any attempt by the President to further infringe on legislative prerogatives would be added to the lawsuit he is planning to bring against his usurpation of authority. "We may be powerless to stop this country's slide into tyranny," Boehner said. "But I want us to go on record as not in favor."
Doctor/Patient Confidentiality Gains New Partner
It used to be that what transpires between a doctor and patient was considered confidential. Under the Affordable Care Act the Government has now been added as a participant in observing communications between doctor and patient.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell justified the expansion of those in the know as "only prudent. The Affordable Care Act has made the federal government responsible for the health of everyone in America. We can't adequately do that job if information on anyone's condition is withheld from us."
"Unenlightened individuals may think that their health is their own concern," Burwell said. "They may think consulting a doctor is purely their own decision. But the ACA has transformed health from any individual responsibility into a social responsibility. All—patient, doctor, and Government—must cooperate in an assessment of what actions, treatments, and medications best serve the collective interests of the nation."
"The information passed along to us by the doctor will be analyzed in order to determine what course best meets the needs of the whole," Burwell continued. "In some cases this will entail surgery or medications. In some cases it will entail mandatory behavioral adjustments. In others benign neglect akin to that practiced by the Veterans' Administration may be the best option for culling the weakest from the aggregate national family."
Congressman Barred from Immigrant Holding Area
Representative Jim Bridenstine's (R-Okla) attempt to gain some first-hand knowledge on the 1200 illegal immigrant minors housed in his Congressional District was blocked by officials of the Department of Health and Human Services.
"It's for the Congressman's own good," Health and Human Services Secretary Silva Burwell insisted. "Many of these youngsters are carrying infectious diseases and parasites. We cannot allow unnecessary contact with unauthorized persons."
Bridenstine was advised to come back after July 21. "By that time all of the children will have been placed with other families or in shelters more suitable for the longer term," Burwell said. "It will then be safe for the Congressman to enter the facility and ask whatever questions he wants."