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tv   The Journal Editorial Report  FOX News  March 30, 2014 12:00pm-12:31pm PDT

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this week on "the journal," editorial report that the supreme court hears a major challenge to obama's birth control mandate as the administration announces yet another enrollment delay. are red state democrats starting to panic? plus as concern grows over vladimir putin's next military move, can president obama rally our european allies and calm their fears with a promise of u.s. energy exports? welcome to "the journal editorial report." i'm paul gigot. the supreme court heard a major
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challenge to the law's birth control mandate. oral arguments in the so-called hobby lobby case came the same day that the administration announced another delay in the health care law giving consumers who claimed to have had difficulty signing up for insurance through the federal exchanges more time despite the official monday deadline. joining its panel this week, dan henninger, joe rago and kick strassel. kim, blet me go to you first. what does it say about whether there will be any deadline at all? >> that's just it. we don't think there will be any deadline at all. all you have to do to qualify for this is check a little box on the website that said you tried to get health care and you just didn't meet the deadline. and in terms of how long that will go on, the regulations say that at least for the moment indefinite. there is no final deadline in terms of when you no longer
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qualify for that. this is a permanent extension. >> and does this suggest, joe, that the individual mandate which the president has said was so crucial, we had to have it because you need that incentive, that stick to buy insurance and finance health care for everybody, does this mean that the individual mandate is essentially a fiction? >> i think it's definitely been eroded a lot. it's probably in hospice if you want to take a medical analogy and it's probably time for the death panel. this is by far the most unpopular part of this law and i think that helps explain why they have been delaying it and why they have been relaxing it. >> they did announce this week there's six million enrollees in obamacare. is that a real number? how firm is that? >> it's not very firm at all. i think the health and human services department is really harming its credibility with neutral observers. you know, they say we don't have any information when things are going wrong.
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when they finding something where they think it might be going right, they immediately release it on a dime. >> we don't know how many people are really paying their premiums of that six million? >> we don't know how many people are paying their premiums, we don't know how many people have actually succeeded in getting through some of the ongoing enrollment glitches, and if things are going so well right now, why announce yet another delay, number 38 since last year. >> and, dan, no -- if things are going so well, you wouldn't know it from the way senate democrats are behaving. because they're starting to roll out an alternative to suggest that we need to fix this. how is that going? >> well, it's interesting in its political implications. these are all moderate senate democrats. >> who all voted for obamacare. >> who all voted for obamacare, they still say they support it but they have got an alternative. it's called the copper plan. there's the three other metals and now we have copper. the interesting thing about it is if you read through it, the
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word "choice" keeps coming up. they want to give people more choice which i think is a word milton friedman made famous when it came to health insurance. they also want to sell insurance across state lines. >> this is the sort of republican ideas that the president refuses to endorse. >> refused back when the legislation was being created. now you've got moderate democrats talking the way republicans did back then, which suggests that the reality is the law itself has just got -- its political support is dropping away completely. >> kim, are you going to see more democrats embrace this strategy? that failed in this recent house election, mend it, don't ending it, but is this the only alternative they have? >> the fix-it approach is the strategy for any dem rat facing electoral pressures. it was the six that started it but you'll see more join it. harry reid, the senate majority leader, is never going to allow a vote on it, so this is really
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an election year strategy. they want to look as though they have problems themselves with the law and solutions for fixing it, knowing none of this will come into being. i think that's one of their political weaknesses because voters know that too. >> joe, let's turn to these court cases. first the hobby lobby religious liberty case at the supreme court. you read the oral argument, you know what the justices do. how do you think this will turn out? >> i think you probably had six justices, including steven briar, really discomforted by the arguments the administration was making here. we're talking about legitimate religious minority. they object to -- the owners of the hobby lobby craft stores object to a few forms of contraception. >> which they under the law are forced to provide for their employees. >> right. and the big weakness in the government's case is that there's a law that says when the
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administration trenches on religious liberty, they need to have a compelling argument and impose the least restrictive methods for it. the justice department in oral arguments really didn't have a good reason why we can't create a free federal birth control program to cover hobby lobby employees rather than implicating the owners in what they consider to be grave moral wrongdoing. >> dan, go ahead. >> the supporters of obamacare have argued if you allow these religious exemptions and go down this road, it allows people to propose absurd religious beliefs to get out of government laws. >> providing vaccinations. >> i think justice roberts put his finger on this in a similar case in 2006 called gonzalez in which roberts said what congress wants the court to do is strike what he called, quote, a sensible balance. imagine congress asking the courts to be sensible about these issues. and i think that's what's going to happen in the hobby lobby
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case. rather than accepting a total mandate to provide contraceptives, a carve-out for people with real religious beliefs like this i think is where the court is going to end up. >> and if they -- if the hobby lobby people lose, it means that the religious freedom restoration act is essentially nonexistent. >> it would essentially be a meaningless statute. no one could ever bring a claim under it. this is really what that law passed for, it's what it was designed to do. >> these kind of religious conscience claims. when we come back, president obama wraps up his european tour over growing concern over russia's next military move. will the president's words this week make vladimir putin think twice? i bought a car, over and tells you, and you're like. a good deal or not. looking at there's no buyer's remorse.
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sanctions will expand and the toll on russia's economy as well as its standing in the world will only increase. >> president obama wednesday delivering the keynote address of his european tour, a trip meant to rally western allies in opposition to vladimir putin's illegal annexation of crimea. but as russian troops continue to amass at the border the president's words caused the kremlin to think twice about its next move. so, brett, was the president able to rally a united western response to putin? >> well, in a sense, yes, because there was relatively ap to take a really firm stance, anything more than a rhetorical stance against putin, against russia, for a variety of reasons not the least of the heavy dependence on russian's natural gas and the president offered a
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fairly weak -- laid down a weak and mainly rhetorical marker. he said very clearly that the united states or europe would not be coming to ukraine's defense militarily. >> we weren't going to do that anyway. >> but we didn't need to specifically tell the russians that if they want to amass troops on the border they wouldn't even face a notional opposition. >> but he did invoke nato's article 5 and say we would go to war if one of the nato countries was invaded. he also called on the allies to step up, as he put it, and spend more on defense. so where did -- >> this is like 1950 when dean atchison gave a speech -- >> secretary of state atchison. >> right. in the truman administration. that korea did not fall within the american security perimeter. well, the north koreans listened to that speech and decided to invade south korea, creating the crisis. then truman had to reverse his
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secretary of state's statement and we did end up losing 30,000 lives. >> but the kpimplication of tha is you're saying this is an invitation for putin to do more, even though the president explicitly said if putin does more, he'll face tougher sanctions. >> i think vladimir putin is not listening or does not care for the rhetoric that's employed, he's looking for actions behind the rhetoric. with every single step with president obama in brussels, he did say nato must step up but he didn't say exactly how. he didn't offer any new really serious measures that the u.s. would deploy forces in eastern europe in greater numbers. >> or even consider deploying them. >> right. rotate a few through. he didn't talk about missile defense. we haven't put any serious naval presence in the black sea since this started. he bent over backwards to say we won't do anything, don't worry about it and tried to belittle russia say it's only a regional
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power. what he needed was a muscular response backed by substantive actions. >> but it may be the president believes what he says about russia, regional power, no threat to us. crimea's takeover is no threat to us, so maybe he believes putin is acting out of weakness and we really don't need to do much more than we've done. >> it's interesting. it depends on the meaning of regional because the pols, hundred gar januarys and all three baltic states think they are under threat by what putin is doing. the idea would be to pull them towards russia rather than allow them to slide over to europe. i think over time using the gas weapon plus the threat of the military, he would be able to do that. and i honestly have to say, paul, looking at what happened in brussels last week, it looks as though the wind is going out of the sails here. the head of nato said what are we going to do?
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we're going to help, quote, modernize the ukrainian military. we're going to, quote, review our relationship with the russians. and the united kingdom's defense minister said as a reality, the europeans do not have the defense structure in place to take any kind of significant action. >> this is also a reminder of just how misconceived the pivot is and the idea that our main security crisis was likely to come in asia. we had no idea that we would be facing such a security crisis right in the heart of europe. you know, as dan was saying nato under obama has become allowed to become a holly shell. defense spending in the european countries and in the united states as well has been declining dramatically. for most european countries it's below 2% of the gdp which is below the baseline for membership. we just had a month ago chuck hagel, the secretary of defense, announcing brand new huge steep cuts, so no wonder russia is
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looking at this and saying that it has the military wherewithal to act. >> so, matt, briefly, does this mean essentially we're going to go back after a little interval here do you think to what it was before? putin gets to keep crimea and we'll go back to business as usual? >> the signal is we just want it to go away and that's what the europeans -- they don't want to deal with this problem anymore. the problem is vladimir putin sees the same thing. he is not being punished for the takeover of crimea as we said he would be and he has thousands of troops massed along ukraine's eastern border and now in the south. i think it's a green light for him to move ahead. >> that's the place to watch. when we come back, as europe faces a russian oil and gas squeeze, will america move to shore up its allies with u.s. energy exports or will domestic american palm particulars get in the way? polident kills 99.99% of odor causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains. that's why i recommend polident. [ male announcer ] cleaner,
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. this entire event has pointed to the need for europe on how it can further diversify its energy resources and the united states is blessed with some additional energy sources that have been developed in part because of new technologies. >> president obama in brussels this week acknowledging the need for europe to reduce its dependence on russian energy and holding out the potential for expanding exports of american natural gas. we're back with dan, matt and kim. matt, first of all, how vulnerable is europe to russian energy supply and how is putin using that advantage? >> well, europe gets about 25% of its natural gas -- >> overall. >> from russia. the e.u. does. of which -- that's only 6% of the total supply. >> but that's not the case with the eastern side of --
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>> they get more. >> as many as 100% or 90 some percent in the eastern states. >> in the baltics. germany gets about half of its natural gas from russia but those numbers have been going down. as a total share of the energy mix, it's only about 6%. so there is dependence, but it can be overstated. on the other hand, russia is entirely dependent on europe to sell its natural gas. russia's biggest market is ukraine actually followed by germany. so if russia were to cut off its natural gas supplies, russia would stop getting revenue. >> but russia is already trying to squeeze ukraine by raising prices. >> that's a purely political move. the price they charge is a fictional price. remember that russia cannot live without getting the revenue for its energy supplies. so this is a really a two-way street. russia is a far more energy dependent economy. it's a petro gas state. >> how much of a difference can
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u.s. energy exports make? >> i think it can make a difference over time. this is -- it takes a while to create infrastructure to allow these sorts of things to happen. >> sure. >> so you need to approve the liquid natural gas in the united states, you have to set up the pipeline infrastructure europe. it exists but has to be adapted to this. the point is someone has to lead and allow the markets to go forward and start this process. once those market forces are in play, then i think all of these country that say matt was describing can think about signing contracts that are alternative to the russians over maybe the next four or five years. >> kim, we had one approve -- the energy department approve one export terminal this week in oregon but there are still 24 more applications to go. but how is this whole russian crisis, ukraine, changing the politics of american energy and
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american exsports of gas and oil? >> well, what you see here, paul, there are a lot of interestingly democrats who are running to natural gas as a sort of political safe harbor. they're under fire for obamacare, they want to look like they're pro energy an pro jobs, so you have the sight of guys like colorado senator mark udall or virginia senator mark warner suddenly embracing the need for more exports and more natural gas. this is putting a lot of pressure on the obama department of energy to approve these 24 applications that are sitting there, which is really important that they get blanket approved because only when you get all of them out the door can the market decide which ones are best to pass regulatory reviews and get all the capital they need and get this process moving quickly. >> well, the senate republicans and even some democrats wanted to have a quote to expedite the energy approvals this week in the senate, attached to the ukraine aid bill, and harry reid
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didn't allow a vote. the house will pass something like this. so is this just pro forma posturing by some of these pro-drilling democrats or are we really going to see something happen? >> it is posturing to some degree. and this gets into the tricky politics of this. the white house has always played a very careful walk with natural gas. they like to say they're in favor of it, again, because it resonates with americans, but their environmental base hates gas. they hate fracking. they have threatened to have repercussions if the white house embraces this. so harry reid did block that vote. i think the real test of whether or not these democrats mean what they say is whether or not they insist that their leadership move ahead on this. >> and it's a good illustration of how green energy politics and the focus on renewables has hurt western european independence energy security and made it more vulnerable to supplies from the soviet union. good lesson for us. we have to take one more
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break when we come back, our hits an misses of the week.
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time now for hits and misses of the week. bret. >> this is a hit for our colleague and beloved friend dorothy bewenowitz. the city bike program is running into serious financial trouble, in part because of the hard winter and the mismanaged finances. i like the city bike program but it's fun to see a colleague so richly vindicated as in this case. >> joe. >> a hit to the fbi sting that exposed leland yee, a long-time california politician, now a state senator, known as a big proponent of gun control. it turns out he's actually an international arms dealer with ties to the chinese -- >> that's the accusation. he denies it. >> and russian mafia.
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wait, there's more. the indictment goes on to allege bribery, racketeering, kickbacks, ties to a crime boss with the nickname shrimp boy. it's just an amazing story of political corruption and a hit to the undercover agents who infiltrated his network. >> kim. >> a miss to the national labor relations board, which this week ruled that the football players at northwestern university could unionize. now, the tortured logic is this. the young men supposedly play 40 or 50 hours of football a week and that counts as a service. since they got a scholarship to get university that counts as a payment. therefore, they are employee who say may unionize. i know that the obama administration is really keen to get more people in the union movement but this is pretty crazy, paul. >> i think the collective bargaining that i'd like to do if i'm a wide receiver is that i never have to go across the fety.e and risk getting hit by a remember, if you have your own hit or miss, send it to us and
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be sure to follow us on twitter. that's it for this week's show. thanks to my panel and to all of you for watching. i'm paul gigot. we hope to see you right here next week. fox news alert. new information on the grim recovery efforts in the mudslide disaster in washington state. welcome to america's news headquarters. 18 people are now declared dead. 30 victims still unaccounted for. today friends and family coming together for memorial services honoring their dead or missing loved ones. dominic is live from arlington, washington, with more. >> reporter: yes, the media is asked to stay away from the church services today but what we're seeing across social networking is that it was very solemn inside three churches that held specific services here in snohosh


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