Saturday, December 21, 2013
"It is our understanding that when the TV executives came up with the concept for the show, they wanted it to be a case of people laughing at a bunch of backward rednecks... But when it didn’t turn out like that and people actually started identifying with the way the family behaved and were laughing with them, not at them, they became uncomfortable...It did not sit well with the New York TV types."
◼ Why Duck Dynasty Threatens The Left. - Instapundit/PJ Media
◼ For the first time in reality TV history, the Christian characters are cool – or at least worth watching. If the Robertsons broke the “Christian” ceiling in reality TV, will others follow? - The Federalist
◼ For Those Who Say the Duck Dynasty Controversy Doesn't Affect Them - Godfather Politics
◼ When They Came for Phil Robertson, I Was Not a Duck Commander, So . . . - CBMW
First they came for the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association,
but I wasn’t a retreat center, so, I did nothing.
When, they came for Tim Tebow,
I wasn’t a Heisman-winning quarterback, so I did nothing.
When they came for Craig James...
Rather than consider Phil a decoy, let us use this moment to make a gracious defense of religious liberty that, through us, more may be happy, happy, happy.
Obama Repeals ObamaCare
It seems Nancy Pelosi was wrong when she said "we have to pass" ObamaCare to "find out what's in it." No one may ever know because the White House keeps treating the Affordable Care Act's text as a mere suggestion subject to day-to-day revision. Its latest political retrofit is the most brazen: President Obama is partly suspending the individual mandate.
The White House argued at the Supreme Court that the insurance-purchase mandate was not only constitutional but essential to the law's success, while refusing Republican demands to delay or repeal it. But late on Thursday, with only four days to go before the December enrollment deadline, the Health and Human Services Department decreed that millions of Americans are suddenly exempt.
Individuals whose health plans were canceled will now automatically qualify for a "hardship exemption" from the mandate. If they can't or don't sign up for a new plan, they don't have to pay the tax. They can also get a special category of ObamaCare insurance designed for people under age 30.
So Merry Christmas.
...Republicans ought to prepare for that eventuality with insurance reforms beyond the "repeal" slogan, but they can also take some vindication in Thursday's reversal. Mr. Obama's actions are as damning about ObamaCare as anything Senator Ted Cruz has said, and they implicitly confirm that the law is quarter-baked and harmful. Mr. Obama is doing through executive fiat what Republicans shut down the government to get him to do.
◼ Obama Repeals Obamacare - Arnold Kling
◼ Obamacare Is Falling Apart Before Our Eyes - Weekly Standard
The wrecking ball swung again toward the crumbling Obamacare edifice yesterday. Ironically, it continues to be the Obama administration that is operating the heavy machinery....◼ Obamacare Initiates Self-Destruction Sequence - Megan McArdle/Bloomberg
At this point, after months of on-the-fly pronouncements, delays, and exemptions (often announced, not coincidentally, in the days just before a major national holiday), perhaps nothing should surprise us anymore about Obamacare’s disastrous rollout. But yesterday’s announcement is still startling because of what it says about the state of the president’s signature domestic legislation. The law is falling apart before our eyes.
As Avik Roy points out, catastrophic plans aren’t that much cheaper than the so-called bronze plans. They’re also not eligible for subsidies. This is unlikely to be much help to folks who lost insurance; all it does is introduce some much-unneeded complexity to Healthcare.gov.◼ What should Republicans do to ensure that this serious Democrat crisis doesn’t go to waste? - Bookworm Room
Tim Draper Wants To Split California Into Pieces And Turn Silicon Valley Into Its Own State
◼ TechCrunch has learned about noted technology investor Tim Draper’s plan to split California into six separate states, including a Northern California slice appropriately named “Silicon Valley.” - Tech Crunch
Essentially, the idea is to section off California into six horizontal slices, with Silicon Valley getting its own region stretching from the Sierras to the Bay Area beaches.
Southern California would also get its own slice of isolationist glory, with the new state “West California” consisting of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, among other areas....
It is an out-of-the-box idea, to say the least. But it’s in line with Silicon Valley’s recent history of hyper-ambitious ideas.
Facebook Investor Peter Thiel is funding a floating, sovereign libertarian utopia island. Investor Balaji S. Srinivasan infamously called for a separate “opt-in” territory for radical experimentation. Google’s Larry Page hinted at the same techno-utopian island.
"Back to that proverbial fork in the road. One sign says 'liberty.' The other sign says 'political correctness.' Every individual American and every American institution will have to choose one or the other. We can no longer have both, and the truth is we really never could. It was always going to end this way, we just didn't want to believe it."
◼ DUCK DYNASTY MESS HITS CRITICAL MASS: ONLY TWO WAYS IT CAN END... - Truth Revolt
The "Duck Dynasty" situation has gotten as hot and spicy as a bowl of creole jambalaya, with the down-home Louisiana family threatening to walk away from its popular cable show and host channel A&E network stuck between a rock and a hard gumbo.
The temperature rose Friday, when a insider to the show -- which generates nearly half a billion dollars in advertising and merchandise -- said the family is "serious" in its threat to walk away if A&E goes through with a suspension for patriarch Phil Robertson.
That threat sets up only two ways the spectacle can end.
"If the network backs down and they bring Phil back, they look weak. If they stand their ground, the family probably won’t move forward, and A&E loses their highest-rated show," the insider told E!
...Meanwhile, there has been steady -- even fierce -- pushback from the Christian community, which sees in the brouhaha an attempt to force them to alter their views. ◼ Radio talk show host Steve Deace laid out the situation in a USA Today column on Saturday.
"A nation founded by pilgrims who came here to worship the God of the Bible freely without interference and persecution from ruling elites and those opposed to Christianity's influence on the culture, has now come to the proverbial fork in the road. After years of attempting to balance traditional Americana with political correctness, those pushing the new 'my way or the highway' definition of 'tolerance' have decided accommodating our differences of opinion is defeat," he wrote.
And at the end of his piece, he had this dire warning:
"Back to that proverbial fork in the road. One sign says 'liberty.' The other sign says 'political correctness.' Every individual American and every American institution will have to choose one or the other. We can no longer have both, and the truth is we really never could. It was always going to end this way, we just didn't want to believe it."◼ What The Duck?
But grown-up conversations are not fashionable in the early 21st century, and a stake was prepared for the lady’s burning. Rant and rave is the order of the day
◼ ‘Tis the season for apologies - Wesley Pruden/Washington Times
◼ A&E, "Duck Dynasty," and the Climate of Intolerance in America - Ryan T. Anderson/Heritage
◼ The Age of Intolerance - Mark Steyn/National Review
◼ The 29 Stages Of A Twitterstorm: Let’s go on a tour of the anger factory. - Buzzfeed
◼ WHY DID BUZZFEED & CO. TARGET JUSTINE SACCO FOR ONLINE ASSASSINATION - John Nolte/Breitbart (image source)
Read your Kafka.
◼ THE STRANGE ONLINE SAGA OF JUSTINE SACCO - John Hayward/Human Events @Doc_o
Whom the gods would destroy, they first give Twitter accounts. This is hardly the first time someone has blown her foot clean off with the howitzer of social media, although usually it’s someone higher-profile than Sacco was, or someone who unwisely makes an online post that directly insults her employers or supervisors. The sub-genre of “private Twitter messages accidentally beamed out to the entire world” has brought us a number of memorable incidents.
On the 10th day of ObamaCare, Democrats gave to me lots of paychecks shrinking, all the unions begging, coverage a’ dropping, businesses-a-closing, six-in-ten disapprovin',
Friday, December 20, 2013
Mr. Johnsen, who is 47, said he would like to buy insurance for his family. They have gone without it for the last two years, paying out of pocket on rare visits to the doctor. But he said it is hard to justify those prices to prevent an unforeseen catastrophe when so many real-world expenses demand his attention first.
New York Times discovers Obamacare can be quite a burden on the non-subsidized middle class… http://t.co/rZ5IasyhzL— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 21, 2013
NYT: 60 year old in WI making $50k will have to pay 19 percent of his income for cheapest available plan. But them's the Obamacare breaks…— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 21, 2013
If same person made $45k would pay about 5 percent of income. Heck of an incentive… http://t.co/F29beKHJ68— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 21, 2013
Broker to NYT: 'Everybody was thinking that Obamacare was going to come in with more affordable rates. Well, they’re not more affordable.'— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 21, 2013
For Global Warming Campaigners, 2013 Was The Year From Hell
2013 marks the 17th year of no warming on the planet. Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the cause of global warming. 2013 was the best of years for climate skeptics; the worst of years for climate change enthusiasts for whom any change – or absence of change — in the weather served as irrefutable proof of climate change. That governments and the public would abandon the duty to stop climate change was in their minds no more thinkable than Hell freezing over. Which the way things are going for them, may happen in 2014. –Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, 20 December 2013
◼ ‘Twas the nightmare before Christmas - Watts Up With That?
◼ 2013 Will Finish One Of The Ten Coldest Years In US History, With The Largest Drop In Temperature - stevengoddard
"Rare" White House Press Conference
WATCH LIVE: Obama holds press conference http://t.co/FdkNGQZPPF— POLITICO (@politico) December 20, 2013
Hoping a White House reporter will ask @BarackObama if there are any parts of Obamacare that the president cannot suspend.— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) December 20, 2013
RT @EdMorrissey: Still. RT @JeromeEHudson: MINUTES BEFORE OBAMA GOES LIVE, HEALTHCARE WEBSITE IS DOWN! pic.twitter.com/AqzrgG3Lwm— WhiteHousePressCorps (@whpresscorps) December 20, 2013
Team Obama decided to use a logo for their end-of-the-year conference. pic.twitter.com/GwaR40rCY8— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) December 20, 2013
19 mins late - uncommonly early for Obama RT @lynnsweet: Obama press conference to start in 2 minutes. In the Brady briefing room.— Toby Harnden (@tobyharnden) December 20, 2013
RT @cspan: President Obama News Conference – LIVE on C-SPAN http://t.co/nJsXK7fobR #cspanCHAT pic.twitter.com/0LQGQwe8p7— WhiteHousePressCorps (@whpresscorps) December 20, 2013
James Carville, Mary Matalin recall finding ‘Love’
◼ The political world’s odd couple — conservative Mary Matalin and liberal James Carville — have talked plenty about politics but their latest book — “Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home” — focuses on how they resolve their differences at home... - Politico
...On the current GOP (Carville): “I think 80 percent of what’s wrong in the country is all contained in the Republican Party. I really do. And I don’t say that because I’m a Democrat.” Still, Carville admits that “I do think that I’ve gotten more conservative in some ways as I’ve gotten older. … I became a little more conservative politically when I realized that once something gets written into law, once it’s in the bloodstream, it’s really hard to undo it. You’ve got to be careful before making big changes....”
So, this is an embarrassment, yes? The law intended to insure the uninsured is instead uninsuring the insured.
None of these fixes are designed to be fixes. They're designed to appear to be fixes, so when people are uninsured, Obama can say, "I tried. I gave them options."
Just never the option of what he promised: Of keeping health insurance they liked.
Utter Chaos: White House Exempts Millions From Obamacare's Insurance Mandate, 'Unaffordable' Exchanges
◼ link - Avik Roy/Forbes
(L)ast night, the White House made its most consequential announcement yet. The administration will grant a “hardship exemption” from the law’s individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance, to anyone who has had their prior coverage canceled and who “believes” that Obamacare’s offerings “are unaffordable.” These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.
?◼ WILL ANYONE HAVE TO PAY - Weekly Standard
The White House will not say whether anyone will have to pay the Obamacare penalty in 2014:
◼ 14th change to law without Congressional approval - John Fund/National Review
Yesterday the Obama administration suddenly moved to allow hundreds of thousands of people who’ve lost their insurance due to Obamacare to sign up for bare-bone “catastrophic” plans. It’s at least the 14th unilateral change to Obamacare that’s been made without consulting Congress.
“It shows that the Obamacare insurance products aren’t selling so, at the last minute, the administration is holding a fire sale on a failed launch,” says Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, a health-care advocacy group. “Just think how you must feel if you were one of the people who spent the last two months fighting their way through HealthCare.gov to buy a policy that will be thousands of dollars more expensive than this catastrophic insurance!”
PLAY AT YOUR OWN RISK: New security concerns for Healthcare.gov... DC to push Obamacare on youth waiting to buy Air Jordans...
◼ White House warns Americans of GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare - Washington Times
Well, isn't this interesting. ...both the official Barack Obama and Organizing for America Twitter accounts have shifted their messaging from touting the benefits and success stories of Obamacare (few as they may be), to scare-whoring the costs of repealing the law.
◼ "The Costs of Repeal" - JohnE/Ace Of Spades (image source)
I'm not sure if they're seeing disastrous internal polling or if this is a shot at the increasingly-weak knees of several red state Democrat Senators up for reelection next year, but either way, this is not exactly a position of strength. Repealing our signature law that is creating nationwide disruptions and confusion will likely cause more disruptions and confusion! Sure, run with that. Also, the website will be faster. Huzzah.
If you're explaining, you're losing, as they say.
STORY OF THE YEAR
Obamacare was sold as simply a refinement of the current system, retaining competition among independent insurers but making things more efficient, fair and generous. Free contraceptives for Sandra Fluke. Free mammograms and checkups for you and me. Free (or subsidized) insurance for some 30 million uninsured. And, mirabile dictu, not costing the government a dime.
In fact, Obamacare is a full-scale federal takeover. The keep-your-plan-if-you-like-your-plan ruse was a way of saying to the millions of Americans who had insurance and liked what they had: Don’t worry. You’ll be left unmolested. For you, everything goes on as before.
That was a fraud from the very beginning....
Obamacare posed as a free-market alternative to a British-style single-payer system. Then, during congressional debate, the White House ostentatiously rejected the so-called “public option.” But that’s irrelevant. The whole damn thing is the public option. The federal government now runs the insurance market, dictating deadlines, procedures, rates, risk assessments and coverage requirements. It’s gotten so cocky it’s now telling insurers to cover the claims that, by law, they are not required to.
On the 9th day of ObamaCare, Democrats gave to me all the unions begging, coverage a’ dropping, businesses-a-closing
What the Duck? UPDATED
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
◼ How in the world did a family of squirrel-eating, Bible-thumping, catchphrase-spouting duck hunters become the biggest TV stars in America? And what will they do now that they have 14 million fervent disciples? ...Drew Magary toured the Louisiana backwater with Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty gang to find out - GQ
◼ Gay rights group slams ´Duck Dynasty´ star Phil Robertson over homosexuality comments - FOX
◼ ‘Duck Dynasty’ star slammed over anti-gay rant - New York Post
◼ SARAH PALIN: 'INTOLERANTS' BEHIND PHIL ROBERTSON'S SUSPENSION ATTACKING 'ALL OF US' - Tony Lee/Breitbart
◼ 'ANTI-GAY': ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY ATTACKS 'DUCK DYNASTY' STAR'S CHRISTIAN FAITH - John Nolte/Breitbart
Had the "Duck Dynasty" star singled out homosexuals, EW might be able to make its case for the absurd charge that he made "anti-gay comments." But as you can read with your own eyes, Robertson did not single out gays, he appropriately listed heterosexual sexual sin, such as adultery and sleeping around.◼ ´Duck Dynasty´s´ Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks - Hollywood Reporter
◼ Duck Dynasty Under Attack - Larry Johnson/No Quarter
◼ 'Duck Dynasty' star suspended for anti-gay comments - Entertainment Weekly
A&E broke its silence on Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments late Wednesday.◼ “Duck Dynasty” has been a ratings juggernaut for A&E, recently drawing around 9 million viewers for its Christmas special. - Variety
The cable network announced Robertson is off the hit show for the time being.
If only Robertson had talked about the deep moral imperative of murdering 21-week-old unborn children for 11 hours. Then he'd be a hero.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) December 19, 2013
◼ Is Phil Robertson Wrong? - The Other McCain
Remember back when "gay" was not a synonym for "constantly in a frothing fit of outraged political anger"? http://t.co/qUlK2FDg27— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) December 19, 2013
◼ Was Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson fired after likening homosexuality to bestiality? - Althouse (Must Read Comments Thread)
◼ Ultimately There Will Be No Option for Silence or the Sidelines. You Will Be Made To Care. - Erick Erickson/Red State
Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant and then it seeks to silence good. Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan, honestly answered questions during an GQ interview. He spoke openly of his Christian faith. Because he offended a secular left at war with orthodox Christianity, he must be punished.◼ Over 1 Million Support Boycotting A&E Following ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star’s Suspension - CBS Houston ◼ Via Drudge
As of Thursday evening, more than 1 million people have “liked” the ◼ “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty” Facebook page.◼ TODD STARNES EXCLUSIVE!
“This page is to show support for the freedom of speech of Americans. Unless Phil is reinstated to the show, we refuse to watch the A&E Channel!” the page states.
The page exploded when it was launched Wednesday, breaking over 200,000 likes in less than six hours and 700,000 after 20 hours. The page received more than 1 million likes in less than 24 hours.
The administrator, who is named Michael, claims he was even banned from Facebook for 12 hours because the page was generating 4,500 likes in one hour.
Duck season may soon be over for A&E.
The Robertson family released a statement to me just moments ago that raises doubts about the future of the one of the most popular shows on cable television.
“We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm,” the Robertson family said in a prepared statement. “We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.”
The family said the have “spent much time in prayer” since they learned that A&E had suspended Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Louisiana family, over comments he made about his religious faith.
The family defended Robertson’s comments and stressed that they are a “family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word.”
“While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible,” the family stated. “Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Phil would never incite or encourage hate.”
The family also criticized A&E for their actions -- saying he was placed on hiatus “for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.”
◼ WE'LL WALK. 'Duck Dynasty' Family: 'We Cannot Imagine the Show' Without Phil Robertson - HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
The reality stars have issued a statement amid the controversy surrounding the family patriarch's anti-gay remarks, saying it is in discussions with A&E about the future of the series.
MORE, AT DRUDGE:
◼ A&E Tried to Cut 'Jesus' from Family Prayers - Truth Revolt
◼ Will Air Marathon Despite Suspension - Truth Revolt
◼ PALIN DEFENDS: “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us...” - Politico
◼ CRUZ: 'Represents the America Usually Ignored or Mocked by Liberal Elites' - National Journal
◼ PAGLIA: Uproar 'utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist' - Caroline May/Daily Caller
◼ GAY WRITER: Fiasco says more about our bigotry than Phil's - Brandon Ambrosino/TIME
◼ 'Boycott A&E' FACEBOOK Page Gets 500k 'Likes' in Hours - Breitbart
◼ Administrator BANNED For Generating Too Much Support - CBS Local
◼ Show Sponsor Backs Robertson - TMZ
◼ 'Duck Dynasty' Controversy: Conservatives (and Camille Paglia) Leap to Phil Robertson's Defense
"I speak with authority here because I was openly gay before the Stonewall Rebellion, when it cost you something to be so," (Camille) Paglia said. "I personally feel, as a Libertarian, that people have the right to free thought and free speech."
Paglia said the punishment of Robertson is a "level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades. It's the whole legacy of the free speech [movement] of the 1960s that has been lost by my own party."
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Poor guy. Barack Obama gets to jet around on Air Force One, golfs every once in a while (/sarc), and has all the trappings and perks of the highest office in the land.
Probably the safest predictions on the planet are that the effort to portray Obama's poll implosion and ongoing unpopularity as not his fault will move forward in 2014, and that it will involve nonstop attempts to portray anyone and everyone who disapproves of his dishonest, sloppy, privacy-invading, opponent-harassing, state-enhancing nonchalant performance as racist.
◼ You Were Warned: Obama as Victim - Rush
"Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Obama! Oh, Obama is suffering more than anybody from this." This is perverted, and it is sick, and it is their way of dealing with this. I went and researched my website, and it's all the way back on October the 16th where I first made reference to this fact that the Democrats, the left, the media were going to start portraying Obama as a victim.
◼ Obama’s suffering - Neoneocon
The wording of this WaPo headline caught my eye: ◼ “Obama Suffers Most From Year of Turmoil, Poll Finds.”
...Again, we have the president as sufferer, and even though here (finally!) the wounds are “self-inflicted.” But it is the administration rather than the president himself that is doing the damage.... All in all, a masterpiece of subtly crafted writing designed to effect a certain perception: that of a beleaguered president who is the suffering victim.
FEDERAL COURT: OBAMA’S PARTNERSHIP WITH MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS GOES FAR BEYOND GUNS
In summary, instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, the Government took direct steps to help the individuals who violated it. A private citizen would, and should, be prosecuted for this conduct.We see that a lot with the Obama administration. If they were in the private sector, they would go to jail. Judge Hanen’s anger was prompted, in part, by the fact that the case before him was not unprecedented, or even unusual:
This is the fourth case with the same factual situation this Court has had in as many weeks. In all of the cases, human traffickers who smuggled minor children were apprehended short of delivering the children to their ultimate destination. In all cases, a parent, if not both parents, of the children was in this country illegally. That parent initiated the conspiracy to smuggle the minors into the country illegally. He or she also funded the conspiracy. In each case, the DHS completed the criminal conspiracy, instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, by delivering the minors to the custody of the parent illegally living in the United States….The Obama administration has tried to come up with explanations for why it is helping felons to break our laws at taxpayer expense, but its efforts, the Court says, are pathetic....
[T]here is no explanation. The DHS has simply chosen not to enforce the United States’ border security laws.
◼ (You can download the opinion here.) Judge: DHS delivering young illegals caught at border to illegal immigrant parents - Caroline May/The Daily Caller
On the 8th day of ObamaCare, Democrats gave to me coverage a’ dropping, businesses-a-closing, six-in-ten disapprovin', five million cancelled plans
So You Think Obama’s 2013 Was Bad? Just Wait Until 2014
Public opinion polls show Mr. Obama’s approval ratings at their low and disapproval ratings at their high. He’s being tagged by the elite media as a liar and as having had the Worst Year in Washington. His signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, is a rolling disaster. And the rest of his agenda–on gun control, climate change, immigration, and much else–is dead in the water. As CNN’s John King put it, Obama was “0 for 13” on the policy proposals he advocated at the beginning of the year....
The core problem facing the Obama presidency, then, can’t be fixed simply by personnel changes; it can only be repaired by accepting that the Affordable Care Act is intrinsically defective and therefore needs to be ended. And Mr. Obama will fight to his last breath to keep that from occurring.
Obama spends $11m attending Mandela funeral -- not including flight there and back...
It is unclear from the documents if the lodging and transportation contracts covered just the president and his support staff, or if it included George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and other current and former government officials. The transportation contract included passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, buses, pickup trucks, box trucks, and "larger capacity vehicles"
Krauthammer to Senator Manchin: “Why Don’t You Fess Up and Become a Republican?” (Video)
◼ Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined Special Report tonight to discuss the Democrat agenda going forward. - Jim Hoft/Gateway Pundit
Charles Krauthammer: You are someone who takes the debt seriously. So my question is why don’t you fess up and become a Republican?
Sen. Joe Manchin: There are still responsible Democrats around the country.
Krauthammer: Well, you’re one of them. Can you name three?
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
ObamaCare Found To Restrict Where You Live And Travel
But Americans are now about to find themselves grappling with their own bureaucratic Berlin Wall. The American Thinker's Stella Paul has exposed the virtually unnoticed fact that within the ObamaCare exchanges so many Americans are being forced into, "most plans only provide local medical coverage."
...A prominent New York insurance broker pointed out that most of the policies offered on the ObamaCare exchanges are not national networks, so "if you need routine medical services, they will not be covered when you leave your local area," as they were before.
Travel health insurance, unfortunately, only covers emergencies. So, the broker told Paul, "a large portion of the population will have their insurance as a consideration for their mobility, which they never had before."
...Meet the latest unpleasant ObamaCare surprise, right on the heels of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week finally admitting that, contrary to Obama's endlessly repeated promise, "there are some individuals who may be looking at increases" in premiums.
Unrestricted movement is a birthright of our liberty. Even socialized medicine's harshest opponents didn't suspect Washington would trample that freedom.
The Case That Could Topple Obamacare
Now, as the technologists charged with making healthcare.gov work report progress, lawyers are re-entering the fray. A little-heard of challenge currently making its way through the court system may represent opponents’ last best hope of, as they are fond of saying, driving a stake through the heart of the law.
It all started in 2011, when Jonathan H. Adler, a conservative law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, shot an email to his friend Michael Cannon, a health policy expert at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. Adler thought he had spotted an error in Obamacare that could unravel a significant portion of the law.
At issue are the federal subsidies for individuals buying insurance in their state’s health care exchanges. The law stipulates that those subsidies should be allotted for plans purchased “through an Exchange established by the State under Section 1311” (italics added), a reference to the section of the law that establishes state-run exchanges.
Adler wondered: Did the law provide subsidies for only state-run exchanges and not federal ones? The law requires that the federal government step in to create an exchange when a state declines to do so. But does it fail to give subsidies to the residents of those states?
It may seem like a small problem, but if true, it spells disaster for the Affordable Care Act. Without subsidies, health care on the individual market becomes unaffordable. Without an affordable option, the individual and employer mandates disappear. In other words, the entire law could come crashing down in the 36 states that have opted not to run their own exchanges. (Read the rest, at Newsweek)
72% Say Big Government Is Greater Threat Than Big Business Or Big Labor
◼ The prior high for big government was 65% in 1999 and 2000. Big government has always topped big business and big labor, including in the initial asking in 1965, but just 35% named it at that time. - Gallup
Currently, 21% name big business as the greatest threat, while 5%, a record low, say big labor. The high point for big labor was 29% in 1965. No more than 11% of Americans have chosen big labor since 1995, clearly reflecting the decline of the labor movement in the United States in recent decades.
‘TROUBLING’: FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS OBAMA ADMIN. TO DISCLOSE DOCUMENT IT’S BEEN TRYING TO KEEP HIDDEN
The Department of Justice has argued that the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development was covered by executive privilege, even though the information is “non-classified” and sends directives to agencies not to the president of the United States.
◼ Judge orders Obama foreign aid order released - Josh Gerstein/Politico
Rejecting one of the Obama White House's most aggressive attempts to preserve executive branch secrecy, a federal judge Tuesday ordered the disclosure of a government-wide foreign-aid directive President Barack Obama signed in 2010 but refused to make public....
Acting on a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Center for Effective Government, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle concluded that the presidential order is not properly within the bounds of the so-called ‘presidential communications privilege’ The judge went further, calling "troubling" the sweeping nature of the government's argument's in the case.
The judge also suggested the administration had lost sight of the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act and transparency itself.
"The government appears to adopt the cavalier attitude that the President should be permitted to convey orders throughout the Executive Branch without public oversight ... to engage in what is in effect governance by 'secret law,'" Huvelle said.
◼ Judge smacks Obama secrecy in unique FOIA case - McClatchy
◼ Read Huvelle’s entire opinion here.
MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
House Republicans have passed dozens of pro-growth bills to get the government out of the way and secure the American Dream; however, Senate Democrats and President Obama continue to refuse to consider and pass these bills. Watch the video ◼ (http://bit.ly/1kfxPaz) to see how House Republicans are working for YOU!
Barbara Walters on Obama:
‘We Thought He Was Going To Be The Next Messiah’
◼ "...We thought that he was going to be - I shouldn't say this at Christmastime, but - the next messiah. And the whole ObamaCare, or whatever you want to call it, the Affordable Health Act, it just hasn't worked for him, and he’s stumbled around on it, and people feel very disappointed because they expected more." - Newsbusters
Quite a thing to say on the very day ◼ a new poll found this president having the lowest approval rating of any since Nixon.
It's also worth noting that this came the day after the ◼ Washington Post said Obama was responsible for three of the top ten biggest Pinocchios of the year, and five days after PolitiFact ◼ awarded him the Lie of the Year.
◼ Krauthammer: It Took Barbara Walters 5 Years to Realize Obama’s Not the Messiah? It Took Us 1 1/2 Hours - Noel Sheppard/Newsbusters
Trying to get people to “talk about” Obamacare reminds me of the attempt to get people to hold a Windows 7 party. In other words: it seems lame.
◼ Is There A “Birther” Reference In This Lame Attempt To Push Obamacare On Millennials? - Political Outcast
◼ Government Propaganda, Then and Now - Michael Warren/Weekly Standard
The Twitter account of Barack Obama published an image Tuesday night that seems designed to encourage young Americans to "talk about getting health insurance" and Obamacare during the holiday season. The image featured a photograph of a young man wearing what appear to be full-length pajamas and holding a mug.
US government propaganda, 1943 http://t.co/x1lFdK9aUz US government propaganda, 2013 pic.twitter.com/UgEmUBtO1M— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 18, 2013
◼ OFA VIDEO TEACHES PARENTS HOW TO INJECT OBAMACARE INTO CHRISTMAS DINNER - Frances Martel/Breitbart
◼ OFA: Support O-care and you too can have a hot chocolate-sipping millennial hipster sitting around your house in onesie jammies - Doug Powers/Michelle Malkin
◼ Pajama Boy: The Obama Machine’s Id
When Twitter rather predictably exploded with derision, a few contrarians suggested that the campaign was deliberately self-deprecating — silly, yes, but explicitly intended to provoke a reaction and thus to guarantee discussion. I’m afraid that this doesn’t strike me as very likely. We are, after all, dealing with the tone-deaf team that thought that “Truth Team,” and “Attack Watch,” two services that allowed Americans to inform on their Obama-criticizing neighbors to the White House, were a good idea. As Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins has asked rhetorically, “Is there any battle in contemporary politics being waged with more indignity and less prowess than the tug-of-war for twentysomethings over Obamacare?”
◼ Oh My: Footie Pajama Guy Wasn't the "Gay Outreach" Effort of Obamacare's Minions. This Is the Gay Outreach Effort. - Ace Of Spades
WaPo: ‘Every Democrat Should Be Scared’ of this Obamacare Ad
◼ “Next November, if you like your senator, you can keep her. If not, you know what to do.” - John Fund/National Review
Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post’s top political blogger, says “Obamacare’s growing unpopularity makes the ad’s message dangerous for any Democrat.” The latest ABC News poll shows 70 percent of independents oppose Obama on health care. Nearly half of all voters think Obamacare is making the health-care system worse versus only 19 percent who think it will improve matters. Cillizza’s conclusion: “You have a very scary situation for Shaheen — and any other Democrat, which is almost all of them, on the record supporting the ACA. Get used to this ad. You are going to see it thousands of times — in various forms — before 2014 is over.”
On the 7th day of ObamaCare, Democrats gave to me businesses-a-closing, six-in-ten disapprovin', five million cancelled plans, Four-Oh-Four errors, fewer physicians, two times the cost and a nightmare for my family.
"This is like the Stasi."
The German chancellor also told the US president that America's National Security Agency cannot be trusted because of the volume of material it had allowed to leak to the whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to the New York Times.
Cover Oregon Blows Millions on Hipster Ad Campaign – Then Pulls Ads
◼ Cover Oregon announced Monday the state will quit running the quirky hipster ads. - Jim Hoft/Gateway Pundit
Critics of the quirky, vague and expensive ads will likely rejoice. The ad campaign was originally slated for about $10 million, but then officials doubled it to $21 million in October.
◼ Fewer shiny, happy people: Cover Oregon pulls hipster ads - Shelby Sebens|Northwest Watchdog
It’s no secret the health exchange in Oregon has been a train wreck since it launched Oct. 1.
But...As for the rest of it, well, it’s still a scramble to get things fixed at Cover Oregon, the website that was supposed to enroll Oregonians in health care coverage. It’s still not working, forcing the state to hire more than 400 additional workers to process paper applications.
Variety reports Fox News Channel maintained its grip on the cable-news network ratings prize in 2013, drawing more viewers than the combined averages of CNN, MSNBC and HLN.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
It all looks so lax, so loosey-goosey. In the place of the energy and focus that would go into the running of things, the administering and managing of them, we have the preoccupation with spin, with how things look as opposed to how they are.
Everyone is doing thoughtful year-end pieces on President Obama. Writers and reporters agree he’s had his worst year ever. I infer from most of their essays an unstated but broadly held sense of foreboding: There’s no particular reason to believe next year will be better, and in fact signs and indications point to continued trouble.
I would add that in recent weeks I have begun to worry about the basic competency of the administration, its ability to perform the most fundamental duties of executive management. One reason I worry is that I frequently speak with people who interact with the White House, and when I say, “That place just doesn’t seem to work,” they don’t defend it...
I’m worried, finally, that lines of traditionally assumed competence are being dropped. The past few weeks I can’t shake from my head this picture: The man with the football—the military aide who carries the U.S. nuclear codes, and who travels with the president—is carrying the wrong code. He’s carrying last month’s code, or the one from December 2012. And there’s a crisis—a series of dots on a radar screen traveling toward the continental U.S.—and the president is alerted. He’s in the holding room at a fundraiser out west. The man with the football is called in and he fumbles around in his briefcase and gets the code but wait, the date on the code is wrong. He scrambles, remembers there’s a file on his phone, but the phone ran out on the plane and he thought he could recharge in the holding room but there’s no electrical outlet. All eyes turn to him. “Wait—wait. No—uh—I don’t think that’s the code we use to launch against incoming from North Korea, I think that one takes out Paris!”
◼ So, Peggy Noonan just started to perceive this a few weeks ago? - Neoneocon
OBAMA 'HIJACKS' NSA MEETING TICKS OFF TECHIES WITH HEALTHCARE PITCH
During a White House meeting called to brief America's largest tech companies today about government overreach in electronic surveillance, President Barack Obama changed the subject – angering some meeting participants by shifting gears to address the failed launch of healthcare.gov....
One executive said that meeting participants were dead-set against straying from the principal focus of the meeting – the uncomfortable and legally untenable position they are in when the National Security Agency demands access to their digital records....
'He basically hijacked the meeting,' the executive said. 'We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us.'
The 15 companies, including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, Apple and Etsy, issued a one-line joint statement after the 150-minute marathon meeting in the White House's Roosevelt Room, saying that they 'appreciated the opportunity to share directly with the president our principles on government surveillance that we released last week and we urge him to move aggressively on reform.'
◼ "We really didn't care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare." - Althouse
"We need no more Washington solutions...We need to go back to the American people."
◼ Ted Cruz: Carrying on the Fight in 2014 - Charlie Spiering/Washington Examiner @charlesspiering
"We need to make DC listen."
Second Smackdown Coming...
◼ Second Federal Judge 'Skeptical' About Legal Case for NSA Phone-Record Collection - US News & World Report
ACLU attorney says judges seem to doubt role of case used to justify surveillance
Federal Judge Calls Obamacare "Totally Ineffective" While Striking Down Contraception Mandate
◼ Yesterday, Judge Brian Cogan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, not only struck down Obamacare's contraception mandate as applied to religious non-profit organizations, but also sent a strong signal that federal courts were losing patience with President Obama's many stitches of executive power. - Conn Carroll/Washington Examiner @conncarroll
Previous courts had ruled against President Obama's contraception mandate as applied to for-profit entities (see Sebelius v Hobby Lobby), but this was the first court to hold that participating in Obama's scheme to provide free birth control is a substantial burden on the free practice of religion (specifically the Catholic Archdiocese of New York and its affiliate organizations).
The contraception mandate "directly compels plaintiffs, through the threat of onerous penalties, to undertake actions that their religion forbids," Cogan wrote. "There is no way that a court can, or should, determine that a coerced violation of conscience is of insufficient quantum to merit constitutional protection." ...
Second, the court also rejected Obama's last minute claim that Obamacare's contraception mandate, as implemented for religious organizations, did not, in fact, mandate contraception:
Here, the Government implicitly acknowledges that applying the Mandate to plaintiffs may in fact do nothing at all to expand contraceptive coverage, because plaintiffs’ TPAs aren’t actually required to do anything after receiving the self-certification. In other words, the Mandate forces plaintiffs to fill out a form which, though it violates their religious beliefs, may ultimately serve no purpose whatsoever. A law that is totally ineffective cannot serve a compelling interest.Considering how often Obama has justified his expansion of executive power on Congress' failure to do his bidding, yesterday's ruling was not only a huge victory for religious liberty, but a huge win for limited government in all spheres as well.
‘Blue Screen of Death Panel’: What to expect now that Microsoft exec will run O-care site [Photoshop]
When you have something that keeps crashing, you don't bring in Microsoft to help. Ruh roh. http://t.co/LmpaJANJwa— Kel Jackson (@thekeljackson) December 17, 2013
BREAKING: Microsoft exec to oversee Healthcare dot gov. First screenshot leaked! pic.twitter.com/xhUN7Ajmib— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) December 17, 2013
The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam
If it weren’t for the “Islamophobes,” we are told, Americans wouldn’t have the low opinion of Islam that surveys show they do; innocent Muslims would not be victimized; and discrimination against Muslims would be essentially non-existent.
The only problem with this scenario is that every detail of it is false....
In reality, the world faces not an “Islamophobia” problem, but a problem with genuine Muslim persecution of those who speak out against jihad terror and Islamic supremacism.
Parents Threatened for Opting Out of Common Core
New York State PTA Education Coordinator Bob Aloise supported calling Child Protective Services and charging parents with "educational neglect" for opting-out their kids from the curricula or testing.
◼ Despite outrageous threats and insults, parents across the U.S. are expressing disgust with the one-size-fits all, turn-my-child-into-a-robot form of standards imposed by Common Core. - Freedom Outpost
When 80% of the parents opted-out of high-stakes testing, Julie Zuckerman, principal of the Castle Bridge School in New York, canceled the tests because there wouldn’t be enough test scores available to provide meaningful data.
While children are in tears, participating in self-mutilation, and learning to hate school because the tests are unreasonably long and the questions are needlessly confusing, parents in Denver, Chicago, Portland, and Providence are taking their kids out of the high-stakes testing in record numbers. Texas cut the number of students taking standardized tests in half.
Administrators of the New York Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District are concerned about the impact that 64 students who have refused the tests will have on district outcomes. The more people know about these tests and the curriculum the more determined they are to remove it from their schools.
When Obama Is Gone, The Nightmare Will Remain…
Obamacare will continue to fail miserably, and the insurance company will buckle under that failure, and if progressive socialists take control of Congress, and then the White House, the push for single payer socialized medicine will be complete, and the lives of every American will suffer for it.
2014 and 2016 are not mere elections – they are wars for the soul of the nation.
◼ ObamaCare’s Troubles Are Only Beginning - Michael J. Boskin/Wall St. Journal
Be prepared for eligibility, payment and information protection debacles—and longer waits for care.
Obama Administration ‘has thrown Americans’ data security out the window’
◼ Congresswoman: Require Feds to Disclose Security Breaches on Healthcare.gov - Washington Free Beacon
A bill in the House of Representatives would require the federal government to tell Americans if their personal information has been stolen while using Healthcare.gov.
Rep. Diane Black (R., Tenn.) introduced the “Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2013” on Thursday to address privacy concerns regarding the Obamacare insurance website, which has been live for months despite its lack of fundamental security safeguards.
“IT experts have repeatedly raised red flags about the security of the information people are putting into the exchanges, and it is only fair that the administration gives people proper notice if this information has been compromised,” she said. “Americans deserve this basic notice so that they can protect themselves from cyber attacks and identity theft.”
Obama's horrible year: Even his supporters wonder if he can reboot his administration and save his second term
◼ For President Obama, 2013 will go down as a year of self-inflicted wounds, wasted political capital and missed opportunities that imperiled his second-term agenda and fundamentally changed how many Americans view his administration. - Brian Hughes/Washington Examiner
“His principal campaign theme was 'Mitt Romney is a rich, white guy,' " said Barbour, explaining why Obama has so quickly lost his reservoir of good will.
◼ Pew: Liberal support for Obama at all-time low, worse than George W. Bush and conservatives - Paul Bedard/Washington Examiner
Following on the heels of other political groups, President Obama's liberal base is abandoning him, giving him an even lower level of support from his base than George W. Bush had from conservatives five years into his presidency, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
Just 54 percent of liberal Democrats strongly approve of Obama in their new poll. For Bush at this stage of his presidency, 65 percent of conservatives strongly supported the Republican.
Worse for Obama: Younger liberals have lost their thrill for Obama more than older liberals. Of those aged 18-49, just 46 percent strongly approve of the president, 39 percent “not so strongly,” said Pew.
◼ Obama’s suffering - Neoneocon
The wording of this WaPo headline caught my eye: ◼ “Obama Suffers Most From Year of Turmoil, Poll Finds.”
...Again, we have the president as sufferer, and even though here (finally!) the wounds are “self-inflicted.” But it is the administration rather than the president himself that is doing the damage. Note, also, that this observation is followed in the same sentence by a balancing reference to the government shutdown, which didn’t hurt Obama at all and was widely blamed on the Republicans.
All in all, a masterpiece of subtly crafted writing designed to effect a certain perception: that of a beleaguered president who is the suffering victim.
◼ So You Think Obama’s 2013 Was Bad? Just Wait Until 2014 - Peter Wehner/Commentary
On the 6th day of ObamaCare, Democrats gave to me six-in-ten disapprovin', five million cancelled plans, Four-Oh-Four errors, fewer physicians, two times the cost and a nightmare for my family.
Monday, December 16, 2013
What if you were told there is a corrupt dictatorship on the other side of the world where government officials are using US foreign aid to build palatial mansions for themselves, diverting money intended to feed poor children and spending billions with no oversight or accountability?
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation has just released “Follow the Money 2013,” a report chronicling some of the highest profile government waste, fraud and abuse uncovered this year. Added together, the examples in this document amount to tens of billions of dollars.
There seems to be no limit on the irresponsible behavior of some politicians and bureaucrats when it comes to spending OPM (Other People’s Money). “Follow the Money 2013” shows they are paying millions to drug rehab clinics with histories of questionable billing practices, giving elected officials bonuses just for being reelected, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on outside consultants, and much, much more.
If it is unconstitutional for the NSA to steal our private info....shouldn't it be ILLEGAL for the Obama camp and Organizing For America to take your PRIVATE facebook and Google info and build mega campaign databases out of it????????
SORRY, BUT WE SPENT THE COST OF A MAJOR PLANETARY MISSION ON A WEBSITE THAT STILL DOESN’T WORK
◼ Bill Nye To Obama: Don’t Slash Space Science Funding. - Slate, ◼ via Instapundit
“In the end, the lion’s share of cuts to planetary exploration have come from the White House.”
◼ Bill Nye's Open Letter to President Barack Obama
The Death of Obama's "Noble Lie"
◼ The disastrous ObamaCare rollout unmasks liberalism's paternalistic dishonesty. - Matt Welch/Reason.com
For years, liberal commentators have accused conservatives of living in an intellectual "bubble" of their own creation, impervious to reality. But through official intent and intellectual laziness, Democrats have created a bubble of deception surrounding ObamaCare that will affect millions of Americans for years to come. A lie this ignoble should stain the credibility of everyone who perpetuated it.
◼ Poll: Americans Blame Obamacare for Inferior Coverage, Higher Costs - Guy Benson/Townhall
Note well, Democrats: These complaints are unrelated to Obamacare's failed roll-out, and are being driven by the vast majority of Americans covered on the employer-based market -- whom the White House has falsely claimed will not be affected by the law's changes...
NSA Spying On All Americans: Likely Unconstitutional
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, concluding they were likely to prevail in their constitutional challenge. Leon, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, ruled Monday that the two men are likely to be able to show that their privacy interests outweigh the government's interest in collecting the data. Leon says that means that massive collection program is an unreasonable search under the Constitution's Fourth Amendment.
The collection program was disclosed by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, provoking a heated debate over civil liberties. The Obama administration has defended the program as a crucial tool against terrorism.
But in his a 68-page, heavily footnoted opinion, Leon concluded that the government didn't cite a single instance in which the program "actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack."
◼ PDF of the Klayman #NSA opinion
◼ Federal judge finds NSA phone metadata collection probably violates the Fourth Amendment - HotAir
The headline says “probably” because the ruling was on a preliminary injunction. He’ll issue a ruling on a permanent injunction after this order is inevitably appealed and he hears further arguments from both sides, assuming this issue doesn’t land before the Supreme Court first....
...if not for (Edward) Snowden’s leaks, this case literally might not have happened. Per the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Clapper case earlier this year, you can’t get standing before a federal judge by merely speculating that the NSA is targeting you. You need to show a real likelihood of concrete injury. Right, says Leon — and now, thanks to Snowden’s exposure of PRISM, we’ve got that. The leaker has changed the legal facts on the ground, enough so to make a Fourth Amendment lawsuit possible. That may be the single most tangible change in U.S. surveillance policy to have come from Snowden’s leaking, despite Obama’s endless promises about reform....
◼ Judge: NSA phone program likely unconstitutional - Politico
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks...
As columnist Charles Krauthammer remarked, rather than investigating and punishing members of the IRS who discriminated against conservative 501(c)(4)s, the IRS now simply wants to change the rules to cover its hide. Even more disconcerting, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp was right on the money when he said these rule changes "smack of the administration trying to shutdown potential critics."
RYAN SAVES GOP FROM ITSELF
If the GOP wants to retake the Senate and hold the House in 2014, the key issues must be the catastrophic pitfalls of Obamacare and better economic growth. A shutdown would be a distraction. It would take the heat off Obama and Obamacare, and all the Democrats who falsely promised that if you like your insurance and doctor, you can keep them.
Obama’s “like it, keep it” promise was just named the lie of the year in the annual PolitiFact survey. Reminding voters of that lie is much more important than a government shutdown — which would be blamed on Republicans anyway....
The purest path for the budget talks would have been a clean bill keeping all the sequestration budget cuts. But the votes were never there in the House. Defense hawks and others would have left that bill short by 40 to 50 Republican votes. And Democrats would never have supported it. Hence the shutdown threat....
◼ Because we like to be helpful, here's the speech Paul Ryan *should* have given about the budget deal - Dan Calabrese/CainTV
Did you notice the three-week #ObamaCare tour already stopped happening? We did!
Today, Americans for Prosperity concluded its “Three Weeks of Obamacare’s Problems” campaign by drawing attention to the fact that the White House hasn’t been able to finish its own three-week pro-Obamacare tour.
After starting their campaign on December 4, the administration’s efforts on behalf of the President’s signature law have slowed to a trickle well before the campaign’s expected conclusion on December 23. During that time, Americans for Prosperity has also responded to the “benefits” touted by the White House by pointing out how they actually harm the American people.
“In letters, interviews with administration officials, hearings and reports, Congress has repeatedly asked the administration: Why has the federal government failed to issue proper consumer protection guidelines for Obamacare’s navigators?"
...First, the law does not bar — or even require screening for — convicted felons, including individuals convicted of identity theft or fraud. This is particularly dangerous because navigators may have access to applicants’ personally identifiable information, including Social Security number, date of birth, address, phone number and annual income. This poorly conceived program endangers families and individuals across the country by heightening the risk of identity theft or financial loss.
In letters, interviews with administration officials, hearings and reports, Congress has repeatedly asked the administration: Why has the federal government failed to issue proper consumer protection guidelines for Obamacare’s navigators? Even as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted before Congress that the lack of federal requirements raises a “possible” problem, the administration has continued to call common-sense safeguards “cumbersome.”
Second, navigators are only required to take a five- to 20-hour online training course and pass a quiz that they can take as many times as needed. The lack of sufficient training for navigators stands in stark contrast to the requirements placed upon health care underwriters whose job it is to help people enroll in health insurance plans....
◼ Confidential Obamacare Navigator training manual uploaded online - capitolcityproject.com
While nothing within the manual seems to be out of the ordinary or raise eyebrows, it contains parts instructing Navigators how to interact with people they speak with. It also includes sections on “Identifying Personally Identifiable Information,” “IRS Data Safeguards” and “Preventing Fraud.”
However, despite sections on preventing fraud and protecting people’s personal information, Breitbart News obtained an early copy of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report on Obamacare Navigators that documents Navigators encouraging fraud.
The report titled, Risks of Fraud and Misinformation with ObamaCare Outreach Campaign: How Navigator and Assister Program Mismanagement Endangers Consumers, details how ill-trained the people in charge of signing Americans up for Obamacare actually are.
◼ HOUSE REPORT: ILL-TRAINED OBAMACARE NAVIGATORS ENCOURAGING FRAUD, JEOPARDIZING PRIVATE INFO - Tony Lee/Breitbart
Breitbart News has obtained a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report on the Obamacare Navigators that will be released Monday. It has found that Obamacare Navigators have been giving Americans misinformation and, in some cases, actively encouraging enrollees to commit fraud in order to raise their subsidies. To complicate matters further, there is no way for Americans to find out whether their Navigators are properly certified.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at a Congressional hearing that it was “possible” for convicted felons to become Navigators. The report, titled Risks of Fraud and Misinformation with ObamaCare Outreach Campaign: How Navigator and Assister Program Mismanagement Endangers Consumers, concludes that is only one of many worries Americans should have about Navigators....
On the 5th day of ObamaCare, Democrats gave to me…five million cancelled plans, Four-Oh-Four errors, fewer physicians, two times the cost and a nightmare for my family.
"What happened on Thursday... will stand as one of the most lawless acts yet committed by this administration"
It’s unconstitutional to force insurers to cover people for free.
The administration could pay insurers to cover up for its mistakes. But that would lead to criticism—as it has in other instances—that the White House is lawlessly throwing taxpayer money at insurers to, well, cover up for its mistakes. So, instead, they’re asking insurers to pay for the mistakes.
But, of course, the cost of paying for those mistakes won’t end up being paid by insurers, but by consumers, in the form of higher premiums.
In theory, the Obama administration’s actions aren’t merely illegal—they’re unconstitutional.
The early, unconditional surrender in the House sends a message that these congressmen will throw good policy overboard at the first sign their re-election could be imperiled
With a bully pulpit backed up by friends in the media, the president owns the agenda in Washington. If he can fool Republicans into voting for a tax and spending increase in return for gossamer spending reductions to take place someday, maybe in a future decade when many of the congressmen voting for it will be dead, anyway, there’s no limit to what he can do....
There may be more than mere populist politicking behind the president’s latest big idea. The unions, which don’t have to make a business work, are the No. 1 advocates of raising the minimum wage. There’s a simple reason for this. Buried in many union contracts are provisions that peg negotiated wages to the minimum wage. The collective-bargaining agreement with one particular union states that “whenever the federal legal minimum wage is increased, minimum wages … under this Agreement shall be increased so that each will be at least fifteen percent higher than such legal minimum wage.” The poorest may lose a chance to put money in their pockets, but union bosses won’t.
That might sound like a good deal to the president, but those struggling to survive his mangled economy know better. Republicans must man up when the administration increases the pressure for raising the minimum wage early in the new year. It’s a small hope, but it’s all we’ve got.
◼ Pat Caddell Slams Republicans: “They Don’t Know How To Finish The Kill!” (Video) - Nice Deb
Echoing what I have been saying since May, Caddell continued, “here’s the problem – when they have Obama on the ropes – look at Republicans! – They don’t know how to finish the kill – with him on the ropes with ObamaCare, that’s when these things would really kill him – but they surrender.”
How the West was lost by the selfie president
◼ My bookshelves sag with encyclopedic volumes arguing that America and the West are in decline. But proving that a picture is worth a thousand books, the “selfie” seen ’round the world ends the argument. - Michael Goodwin/New York Post
...President Obama’s flirting with Denmark’s prime minister would be shameful on any occasion. That it happened at the memorial for Nelson Mandela only adds to the embarrassment.
But the “selfie” episode also symbolizes the greater global calamity of Western decline. With British prime minister David Cameron playing the role of Obama’s giggling wingman, the “look at me” moment confirms we have unserious leaders in a dangerously serious time....
Poll: Ted Cruz 3rd 'most influential' world leader
Among Republicans, Cruz was second behind the pope, with 19 percent calling the freshman senator and Tea Party leader the world’s most influential leader. Just 9 percent of Republicans said the same thing of Obama.
◼ Time magazine named Pope Francis its “Person of the Year” last week, and nearly one-in-four Americans agrees with that pick. Rasmussen Reports gave Americans a similar list of influential people worldwide... - Rasmussen Reports