End of the Age News
By Jim Stigleman
Supreme Court to Rule on Obamacare
Obamacare continues to be mired in controversy. This time it’s about birth control. The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed this past Tuesday to hear cases in which religious corporations are opposing the healthcare law’s mandate to offer preventive service policies to women that consists of contraception and sterilization assistance.
The cases to be tired concern whether or not companies, which on religious principle opposed the mandate, can be exempt from such a law. The approach of Obamacare is that healthcare choices be left up to women and their doctors. A White House spokesman stated, “The president believes that no one, including the government or for-profit corporations, should be able to dictate those decisions to women.”
Speaker of the House, John Boehner calls the contraception mandate “an attack on religious freedom.” He has implored the court to rule for the companies and against the mandate.
At the center of the controversy lies the issue of whether the First Amendment and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act should grant religious corporations the same free exercise-of-religion rights that individuals receive under these provisions.
Two companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, both owned by devoutly religious people, are at the heart of the cases against the contraception mandate. A June ruling by the high court is expected.
Abbas Submits Three Year Plan for Israeli Withdrawl
In Middle East news…
At an international security conference in Tel Aviv, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted a proposal that called for Israel to gradually withdraw from the West Bank over a three year period. Abbas criticized Israel stating, “I am saying that clearly: whoever proposes 10 or 15 years for a transition period does not want to withdraw. We say that a transitional period not exceed three years, during which Israel can withdraw gradually.”
Citing their country’s security, Israel is demanding they be allowed to keep a military presence on the eastern boarder of a proposed Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This has been a major stumbling block in the U.S. led peace talks which began in July. Israel contends that Palestinians in the West Bank could orchestrate attacks against their country if no Israeli military presence is in the region.
Abbas has countered saying other military forces such as NATO or an U.S.-led coalition could “take Israel’s place after the withdrawal … to assure both sides that things will continue as normal”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has openly accused Abbas of not compromising for peace, further stating that Abbas should recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Kerry: America Not Standing Down
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry has disputed a rumor that America is pulling out of world affairs.
Replying to allegations by Saudi Prince, Turki al-Faisal, that the U.S. foreign policy lacked direction, Kerry stated, “I’m perplexed by claims I occasionally hear that somehow America is disengaging from the world – this myth that America is pulling back, or giving up, or standing down. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Kerry also took exception to the view that if America wasn’t “brandishing an immediate threat of force” that it wasn’t lending its influence to world affairs, insinuating that America is more than just a military presence. While at the Forum, Kerry also has continued to push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
I’m Jim Stigleman and this has been today’s ETA News