Saturday, July 13, 2013

Carney on Obama’s erstwhile opposition to Senate filibuster changes: Yeah, but that was different

Hot Air ^ | 6:01 pm on July 12, 2013 | by Erika Johnsen 

In the Green Room this afternoon, Guy highlighted now-President Obama’s adamant opposition to the “nuclear option” of altering Senate procedures to limit minority rights back in 2005, and his bizarre reversal from said position in the present day and age. Invoking the nuclear option, said 2005-era Sen. Obama, would have marked the “end of democratic debate”; indeed, the “fighting and the gridlock would only get worse,” his former self pronounced with conviction. So… what is it that’s changed, exactly?
When asked about this rather conspicuous one-eighty during the White House press briefing earlier today, Press Secretary Jay Carney protested that “the world today is quite different from how it was in 2005.” …Uhm? Via RCP:

The president said in 2012 in the State of the Union Address, “some of what ‘s broken has to with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything, even routine business passed in the Senate. Neither party has been blameless in these tactics, now both parties should put an end to it. For starters, I asked the Senate to pass a simple rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote in the Senate within 90 days. Unfortunately that recommendation has not been taken up by the Republicans leadership in the Senate. Contained within those remarks that the president made in the well of the House, the State of the Union address, was an acknowledgement that this is a problem that existed when, has been exacerbated in some ways by both parties. But there is no question that the world today is quite different from how it was in 2005, when it comes to this issue in the Senate. The way that it’s been done and the obstructionism that we’ve seen from Republican leaders in the Senate, and Republicans members in the Senate. It is not the same and it is a real problem. When it comes to Senator Reid, we differ to him on Senate procedure. But we appreciate the support he’s given and will give to the confirmation of the president’s qualified nominees.
So, during the George W. Bush era, wherein Democrats were installed in the minority role and actively used the aforementioned tactics to prevent some of Bush’s appointments to which they were opposed… how is that “not the same”? I’m still not getting it.

John McCain: From American Hero to American Zero ^ | July 13, 2013 | Steve Deace

John McCain was once a symbol of what’s right with America, persevering through years of torture and torment while imprisoned in the notorious Hanoi Hilton. But decades later within the far cozier confines of the U.S Senate, he has become a symbol of why many Americans in public opinion polls believe our best days are behind us.
McCain was imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton because he wore a uniform that stood for truth, justice, and the American way. Values that represent what we often refer to as “American Exceptionalism.” Each of those values is anathema to every strain of statism, including the kind McCain was fighting against in Vietnam. However, these days McCain is advancing a set of beliefs that aligns much closer with his former Vietcong captors than the Founding Fathers.
Here is a snapshot chronology of McCain’s record since 2004:
  • In 2004 McCain spearheaded opposition to an amendment that would’ve protected marriage and religious liberty via the U.S. Constitution, calling such efforts “un-Republican” and “unnecessary.” McCain said at the time the loss of marriage is a problem, “most states do not believe confronts them.”
  • In 2005 McCain worked against efforts to force votes on President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees that were being stymied by Democrat filibusters.
  • In 2007 and 2013 McCain twice worked with notoriously anti-Constitutional leftists (Ted Kennedy and Charles Schumer) to pass scamnesty legislation that undermines the rule of law, drives down wages and opportunities for American workers, burdens taxpayers with trillions of dollars in new welfare state recipients, threatens cultural cohesion and assimilation, and will also result in a mass statist Democrat voter drive.
  • McCain suspended his 2008 presidential campaign to help pass what I believe is one of the most criminal pieces of legislation in American history—TARP. He also voted for several other pork-riddled “stimulus” programs while claiming to be a budget deficit hawk.
  • Following the 2012 re-election of President Obama, McCain told Fox News that Republicans should stop fighting on child killing, but simply state their position on the sanctity of human life and then “leave the issue alone.”
  • In December of 2012, McCain stripped a key provision from the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require the federal government to obey the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, thus providing American citizens due process of law before being detained.
  • Earlier this year McCain called the fiscal cliff deal that resulted in the largest tax increase in 20 years “disgraceful” but voted for it anyway at approximately 1:30 a.m. eastern time.
  • This year McCain backed U.S. taxpayers sending foreign aid to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and opposed the rebellion that removed this terrorist-friendly regime from power. McCain also backed American military intervention in Syria that would’ve assisted Jihadist rebels there. McCain even traveled to Syria over Memorial Day, and may have even ended up doing a photo op with Jihadist kidnappers while he was there.
If “by their fruit” you will know them, there’s hardly a principle of American Exceptionalism that McCain hasn’t betrayed in the past eight years. Taxes, spending, rule of law, illegal immigration, marriage, life, Second Amendment, foreign policy—you name it and it’s likely that McCain has betrayed it.
McCain has often touted himself as a “maverick” and a man of principle. If indeed he is a man of principle it’s all the wrong ones. It’s not just that he’s wrong, but he’s dangerously wrong. McCain has advocated tax-and-spend policies that would severely cripple families. McCain has advocated acquiescence on the killing of 4,000 innocent children per day. McCain has advocated against the rule to the detriment of American citizens (NDAA) but for illegal aliens (scamnesty). McCain opposed protecting the natural human family, and thus also opposed protecting religious liberty that is threatened by redefining marriage. McCain has advocated a foreign policy that to put it bluntly has accomplished little other than making it easier to persecute Christians in places like AfghanistanIraqEgypt, and now Syria.
Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute has a saying: “personnel is policy.” Look at who McCain has surrounded himself with. One of his former top advisers helped cut anti-Second Amendment television ads this year, and his 2008 national campaign manager is now working with the ACLU to undermine marriage protection amendments passed by voters in 31 states (basically voter disenfranchisement).
To sum up, McCain has actively opposed the ideals that make our enemies hate us for all the right reasons – faith, family, and freedom. And he did so in many cases while running for president. Most politicians master the art of pandering as they gear up to advance their ambitions, but not McCain. It’s almost like he has such disdain for American Exceptionalism he prides himself on opposing it, and panders to the progressive dolts in our liberal media instead.
Standing for all the wrong things these past few years essentially nullified any purpose to his persevering through the Hanoi Hilton. Why suffer through torture if you were just going to oppose the ideals that put you there in the first place? I suffered through physical and emotional abuse growing up. But there would’ve been no meaning to persevering through that suffering if I would’ve turned around and abused my own children as well.
If you truly want to grasp just what kind of shape our culture is in, consider this—McCain was selected as the standard-bearer for the opposition to Barack Obama in 2008.
I’ll give McCain credit for at least one thing. Once and for all he’s debunked the myth that a bad Republican is still better than a good Democrat. McCain’s legacy testifies the battle really isn’t Republican vs. Democrat but Liberty vs. Tyranny, and it’s really not Right vs. Left but Right vs. Wrong.

Christians need not apply

COACH IS RIGHT ^ | JULY 13TH, 2013 | Jim Emerson

In the latest move by pro-homosexual sycophants in positions of leadership in today’s military, orders are being issued to prevent openly religious soldiers from serving their country. Since lifting the ban on homosexuals openly serving in the military, troops are being coerced to either embrace the gay lifestyle or get out. Gay pride events such as those featured last month (in spite of massive budget cuts) were a blatant, in your face move orchestrated by the White House. Homosexuals don’t ask for acceptance, they demand it. And not only must Americans accept their behavior, we are now being forced to approve of it.
Technical Sgt. Layne Wilson, a 27 year veteran of the Utah Air National Guard was reprimanded for his opposition to a homosexual wedding in the West Point chapel. In fact, he was told to retire because his personal views were incompatible with military policy. How have things changed since Mr. Obama became commander in chief? Simple–liberals have become more intolerant than ever. If you disagree with the aberrant behavior displayed by a White House-preferred, small group you can kiss your military career goodbye. Commanding officers will be more than glad to obey their ring-tapping superiors by enforcing the mandatory acceptance of perversions. (1) TSgt Wilson’s crime? Being Christian.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25-year Army veteran, received an article 15 reprimand for his political and religious beliefs. He was being prosecuted by an openly gay officer. His Crime, being Christian. According to the latest report, MSG Sommers is planning to file a discrimination lawsuit. (2)
John Wells, the attorney representing TSgt Wilson, told Fox News: “The military is trying to make examples of people who have religious beliefs that homosexual conduct in the military is wrong.” “The end game is to force conservative Christians out of the military.” (1)
The “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy wasn’t removed from the books, it was only redefined. Troops are no longer permitted to talk about their religion. It will be only a matter of time until Americans are denied enlistment or a commission because of church affiliation. Porcelain Prince (in honor of David Hackworth) Commanding Officers will be glad to railroad anyone who opposes the Obama directed gay agenda.

Episcopal Church Weighs Ban on Straight White Males...Is Your Church NEXT?

Virtue Online ^ | 7-13-13 | David W. Virtue

Episcopal Church gays and lesbians are weighing a resolution to be put forward at the next General Convention making it illegal for straight white males to be admitted to the priesthood.

LA Bishop Mary Glasspool, an avowed lesbian and one of many lesbians and gays supporting the "no white males resolution", crafted her resolution after hearing a straight white male preaching a sermon condemning homosexual behavior last month.

"I was shocked, stunned, blown away and mortified. I have never heard such homophobia coming from a pulpit. That was my moment to say enough is enough.

"This comes down to a choice between misogynistic white males versus gays and lesbians in an ever shrinking church and LGBTQI folk who insist they should be able to get laid by whomever, whenever because G-d loves them just the way they are, and we choose justice, inclusion and integrity."
Bishop Glasspool said she has the support of bishops like Gene Robinson, Otis Charles, Frank Griswold, clergy like Susan Russell and pedophiles and sexual abusers like Bede Parry and many more gays who have yet to come out of the closet. She said the resolution would keep out men who only had a penile interest in women, hate-mongers, homophobes, and other gay hating types. She said she was deeply moved by the late Ronald Haines Bishop of Washington who unofficially adopted that policy when he was bishop there. It worked so well the diocese is now being largely sustained financially by the Soper Fund.
"Straight white males are only good for breeding future gays if we can screw up the family relationships early enough in their lives, but we do not want them preaching, running churches, and definitely not bishop material, it's an insult to our dignity and integrity," opined Glasspool.
But a straight white bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gregory Brewer (CF), believes that the total ban on straight white males goes "too far". He is proposing a less draconian resolution that would allow some white men who love women to remain in the Episcopal Church as associate rectors and vicars.
Glasspool concurred. "The Episcopal Church needs white males to clean up the refreshments in the kitchen on Sunday morning after the service is over. Men can clean the pews and the elements and lick plates in case the water is turned off because of an unpaid water bill," said Glasspool, noting that a large number of churches bordered on extinction owing to the collapse of heterosexual marriages.
"If they show that they can do those things and stay out of church politics, there might just be a pathway to ordination if they behave themselves and subject themselves to women priests some of whom have strong sado-masochistic tendencies."

"Win-Win" Situation for Employers not Offering Healthcare ^ | July 13, 2013 | Mike Shedlock

The peculiarities of Obamcare keep piling up. Here's the latest: Wegmans, a Rochester-based grocery store has decided to do something beneficial for its part-time employees, stop health care insurance.

The reason? Employers and employees alike are better off if the employer does not offer health-care benefits to part-time employees.

Please consider Wegmans cuts health benefits for part-time workers.
 Et tu, Wegmans?

The Rochester-based grocer that has been continually lauded for providing health insurance to its part-time workers will no longer offer that benefit.

The company said the decision was related to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act.

Part-time employees may actually benefit from Wegmans’ decision, according to Brian Murphy, a partner at Lawley Benefits Group, an insurance brokerage firm in Buffalo.

“If you have an employee that qualifies for subsidized coverage, they might be better off going with that than a limited part-time benefit,” Murphy said.

That’s because subsidized coverage can have a lower out-of-pocket cost for the insured employee while also providing better benefits than an employer-paid plan.

Under the Affordable Care Act, part-time employees are not eligible for health insurance subsidies if their employer offers insurance.

“It’s a win-win. The employee gets subsidized coverage, and the employer gets to lower costs,” Murphy said.

Wegmans employs roughly 1,433 full-time employees and 4,304 part-time employees in the Buffalo Niagara region.
Now Ain't That Special?

Part-timers are better off with no company health-care offering than with one. Fancy that. Now just imagine the temptation for employers to reduce someone from 32 hours (considered part-time before Obamacare) to 29 hours or 25 hours because the Obamacare definition sets the definition of part-time at 30 hours.

That's pretty special too, and I have just the tribute to offer.

Link if video does not play: Church Lady Chat With Hillary Clinton

The Obamcare effect is real. The distortions are complicated, numerous, and not widely understood.

Obamacare Economic Distortion Synopsis

For more on Obamacare Economic Distortions, please peruse the above links to your heart's content.

Who knew the best form of birth control would be the President himself?

Mental Recession ^ | 07/13/2013

Shortly after the historic election of Barack Obama in 2008, Newsweek magazine ran an article basking in the afterglow of victory, opining about the possibility of American citizens themselves … um, basking in the afterglow.
In an article which showed the depths of worship in which the media had descended to support their chosen candidate, Jessica Bennett projected her own excitement upon readers, discussing the possibility of a baby boom sparked by “exhilarated” and “euphoric” Obama fans being “in the mood for love.”
The title of the piece, Change You Can Conceive In, tells you all you need to know.
In mind-numbing, stomach-turning, reach for the bleach to cleanse the eyes, scenario after scenario, liberal couples and their need to celebrate Obama’s ‘seismic’ election.
First, there was one wife whose husband downed a bottle-and-a-half of wine and started muttering about “making an Obama election baby.”
Then there was this line (I encourage those with a weak stomach to turn away):
During one round of election-fueled romance, says Eric Davis, 37, of Minneapolis, “my wife accidentally said, ‘Oh, Obama!’
Why am I torturing readers with this?
Despite the ridiculous examples cited, Bennett was right. According to reports from the CDC, the number of live births rose from 325,000 in November of 2008, to 360,000 in August of 2009. That represented a 0.8% increase in live births per 1,000 population during that time, and a seasonally adjusted increase of 1.1%.
Hope and change, or hope and euphoria as Bennett reported, had resulted in a little more lovin’ amongst our fellow Americans.
So if we’re willing to concede that point, then the liberal media must surely concede an updated point about birth rates: Once their rock star candidate Obama turned into our bumbling President Obama, birth rates went relatively limp.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

DHS' Janet Napolitano Leaves Legacy of Corruption, Lies, Lawsuits, and Waste

The New American ^ | 12 July 2013 | Bob Adelmann 

The surprise announcement that DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano will be leaving the Obama administration to head up the University of California means that she may have less opportunity to wreak constitutional and economic havoc.

DHS' Janet Napolitano Leaves Legacy of Corruption, Lies, Lawsuits, and Waste

The New American
12 July 2013

Many were surprised at Janet Napolitano's announcement that she will leave her position as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the end of August to become president of the University of California. Chosen from more than 300 candidates vying for the position, Napolitano managed to keep her interest in that position, and her successful bid for it, from the public until Friday.

She issued the usual departure appreciation statement:

I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history. And I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American public expects.

In response the president issued his dutiful reply:

Since day one, Janet has led my administration's effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values.

And the American people are safe and more secure thanks to Janet's leadership in protecting our homeland against terrorist attacks.

Senator Jeff Sessions, (R-Ala.), saw things just a little differently: Napolitano's tenure has been marked "by a consistent disrespect for the rule of law," he observed.

Almost from her first day in office Napolitano failed to grasp the difference between truth and falsehood. Taking office in January 2009, she stoked controversy and an angry response from the Canadian ambassador when she incorrectly claimed that the September 11, 2001 attackers had entered the United States from Canada. When caught, she demurred without apology:

To the extent that terrorists have come into our country ... across a border, it's been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there.

Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, angrily corrected Napolitano:

All of the 9/11 terrorists arrived in the United States from outside North America. They flew to major U.S. airports. They entered the U.S. with documents issued by the United States government, and no 9/11 terrorists came from Canada.

Thus began the long litany of inaccuracies, distortions, and cover-ups issued by Napolitano and her agency. In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley about how the DHS “system” worked in deflecting an attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 into Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009, Napolitano said:

One thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight.

When forced to correct the account, Napolitano told Matt Lauer on December 28 that her comments “were taken out of context” and admitted that in fact “our system did not work.”

Napolitano either allowed or encouraged a “female sorority house” environment at the highest levels of her department that resulted in a federal discrimination lawsuit being filed by special Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent James Hayes which claimed her subordinates, Dora Schriro and Suzanne Barr, mistreated and sexually harassed him and other male staffers. When Hayes first reported the misbehaviors (beyond propriety to describe here) to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Napolitano launched a series of misconduct investigations against him. Soon thereafter Barr went on leave and then resigned altogether in September, 2012.

One of the most outrageous incidents concerned the publishing of a threat assessment report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence of Radicalization and Recruitment” in April, 2009. The report claimed that the election of a black president, the economic meltdown, home foreclosures, concerns about impending gun control legislation, illegal immigration, and other factors were likely to drive recruiting into right-wing extremist factions. From that report:

The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment...

The consequences of a prolonged economic downturn — including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit — could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.

The report referred to various “conspiracy theories” that might put the country at risk, along with a porous Mexican border:

Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent anti government conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty...

DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremist groups’ frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence.

When challenged about those “findings," Napolitano was forced to make numerous apologies and her department admitted to a “breakdown in internal processes” in creating the report.

Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, noted in an editorial in March that the Government Accounting Office (GAO) identified billions of dollars in cost overruns incurred by the DHS and that even the DHS Inspector General’s office identified more than $1 billion in “questionable” expenses. He pointed out that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), one of Napolitano’s agencies, pays salaries of more than $100,000 a year to over 3,500 bureaucrats while the DHS itself was paying out performance bonuses of $61 million in 2011. As Duncan noted:

Our country is over $16 trillion in debt. Numerous examples of departmental cost overruns, schedule delays and performance problems cannot continue in this constrained budget environment.

One is reminded of General Sherman’s March to the Sea where total war against Georgia citizens was waged in late 1864 in order to destroy Georgia’s economy. The obvious benefit of Napolitano’s departure for the University of California is that she may be likely to inflict less damage there than she did as head of the DHS.

Why the White House is Panicking About ObamaCare ^ | July 13, 2013 | John C. Goodman

Actors. Actresses. NFL football players. Baseball players. Librarians. Mayors. City councilmen. Members of AARP.

The Obama administration is looking far and wide, leaving no stone unturned in a relentless search for…well…for help.

Help with what? Help with getting people to enroll in health insurance plans this fall.

And why is that? Because the administration is facing the very real possibility that its signature piece of legislation may fall flat on its face.

Last week's announcement that the employer mandate will be delayed for a year and that income verification for people getting subsidies will also be delayed are the latest signs of trouble. The next shoe to drop may be the failure for people to obtain (ObamaCare) insurance — even if it's free or highly subsidized.

Consider this:

· About one in every four individuals who are eligible for Medicaid in this country has not bothered to enroll.

· About one in five employees who are offered employer-provided health insurance turns it down; among workers under 30 years of age, the refusal rate is almost one in three.

Think about that for a moment. Millions of people are turning down (Medicaid) health insurance, even though it's free! Millions of others are turning down their employers' offers. Since employees pay about 27% of the cost of their health insurance, on the average, millions of workers are passing up the opportunity to buy health insurance for 27 cents on the dollar.

You almost never read statistics like these in the mainstream media. Why? Because they completely undermine health policy orthodoxy: the belief that health insurance (even Medicaid) is economically very valuable, that it improves health and saves lives, and that the main reason why people don't have it is that they can't afford it.

Welcome to the huge disconnect in health reform. On the one hand there are the people who are supposed to benefit from health reform. On the other hand there are the people who talk about it and write about it. I think it's fair to say these two groups almost never meet.

Study after study has purported to have found that health insurance improves health, saves lives, makes people happier, etc., etc. But these studies almost always ignore two cardinal facts:

· We have made it increasingly easy in this country for the uninsured to obtain health care after they get sick.

· We have also made it increasingly easy for people to get health insurance after they get sick.

Both developments reduce the incentive to spend time and money enrolling in a health plan.

I have described before the experience of emergency room care in Dallas:

At Parkland Memorial Hospital both uninsured and Medicaid patients enter the same emergency room door and see the same doctors. The hospital rooms are the same, the beds are the same and the care is the same. As a result, patients have no reason to fill out the lengthy forms and answer the intrusive questions that Medicaid enrollment so often requires. At Children's Medical Center, next door to Parkland, a similar exercise takes place. Medicaid, CHIP and uninsured children all enter the same emergency room door; they all see the same doctors and receive the same care.

Interestingly, at both institutions, paid staffers make a heroic effort to enroll people in public programs ? working patient by patient, family by family right there in the emergency room. Yet they apparently fail more than half the time! After patients are admitted, staffers go from room to room, continuing with this bureaucratic exercise. But even among those in hospital beds, the failure-to-enroll rate is significant.

Clearly, Medicaid enrollment is important to hospital administrators. It determines how they get paid. Enrollment may also be important to different sets of taxpayers. It means federal taxpayers pay more and Dallas County taxpayers pay less. But aside from the administrative, accounting and financial issues, is there any social reason we should care?

Economics teaches that people reveal these preferences through their actions. If people act as though they are indifferent between being uninsured and being on Medicaid, we may infer ? based on this behavior ? they are equally well off in both states of the world from their own point of view.

Against this conclusion, advocates of "behavioral economics" might argue that people don't know what's best for them. They have to be "nudged." Seeing a football star on TV encouraging young men to enroll in a health plan might do the trick. But for the Obama administration that doesn't solve the problem. People need more than an initial nudge. They have to be nudged every month.

Take Massachusetts. That state cut its uninsurance rate in half. But the main vehicle was Section 125 plans set up by employers. These accounts allow employees to pay their share of the premiums with pre-tax dollars and they are mandatory. Further, for lower-income employees the insurance is highly subsidized by the state. More to the point, under this arrangement, the employee's contribution is automatically deducted every pay period.

Under ObamaCare, similarly situated individuals are going to be expected to pay a monthly premium the way they pay their utility bills. But with this difference. When people don't pay their electricity bills, the utility cuts off their electricity. When they don't play their rent, the landlord throws them out in the street. But when they don't pay their health insurance premium, what happens then? Not much.

Why is it so important to the administration to have people enroll? If they don't enroll in Medicaid, I don't think it matters very much. But if they don't enroll in private plans sold in health insurance exchanges, it will matter a great deal. Remember, these will be artificial markets in which insurance will be underpriced to the sick and overpriced to the healthy. A lengthy, complicated enrollment process will further discourage those with no health problems.

But if the only people who enroll are those who are sick, the average premium will go through the roof. A death spiral will ensue as ever increasing premiums price more and more buyers out of the market, leaving only those whose expected medical expenses exceed those high premiums.

The bright side of all this is a possible teaching moment. The whole nation may be treated to one vast demonstration of why prices matter.

Answering 7 Key Questions About The George Zimmerman Trial ^ | July 13, 2013 | John Hawkins

1) How old was Trayvon Martin and how much size difference was there between him and Zimmerman? Initially, old photos of Trayvon Martin were shown in the media that made him appear to be about twelve years of age and Zimmerman's weight has fluctuated dramatically. This has given many people the erroneous impression that a grown man was fighting a child. In actuality at the time of the incident, Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old, 6’2, 160 pound football player while according to his friend Joe Oliver, Zimmerman was 5'8 and 170 pounds. In other words, Martin was younger, 6 inches taller, more athletic and the more imposing of the two men.

2) Why was George Zimmerman not initially arrested?: According to the Sanford Police Chief at the time, Bill Lee, who has since lost his job over this case,

When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony. By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time. Additionally, when any police officer makes an arrest for any reason, the officer MUST swear and affirm that he/she is making the arrest in good faith and with probable cause. If the arrest is done maliciously and in bad faith, the officer and the City may be held liable.

Lee has since added,

The police department needed to do a job, and there was some influence — outside influence and inside influence — that forced a change in the course of the normal criminal justice process.

In other words, had this case not become a political hot potato, Martin's death would have been considered self-defense and Zimmerman would have likely never gone to trial.
3) Did George Zimmerman use a racial slur to refer to Trayvon Martin?: George Zimmerman muttered something under his breath when he was talking to the 911 dispatcher that some people initially said were the words, "F***ing coons." Although the audio is difficult to hear, the words Zimmerman used are now generally believed to be, "F***ing punks," although it may have also been "F***ing goons," which is slang for gang members in that part of Florida. In any case, the FBI concluded more than a year ago that race wasn't a factor in the shooting.

4) Did George Zimmerman continue to follow Trayvon Martin after a police dispatcher told him not to do so? Keep in mind that George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch captain and there had been 8 burglaries there in the preceding 14 months. Additionally, most of those crimes were committed by young black males. Furthermore, while there are no indications that Martin was doing anything illegal when he ran into Zimmerman, it's worth noting he had been suspended from school for possession of a "'burglary tool' and a bag full of women's jewelry." Given all of that, it doesn't seem remarkable that Zimmerman may have initially followed Martin.

However, after calling the police and reporting what he believed was Martin's suspicious behavior, the 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman he didn't need to continue to follow Martin. It's worth noting that the dispatcher had no legal authority to tell Zimmerman what to do and even if Zimmerman continued following Martin, it wouldn't be a crime. Regardless, Zimmerman says he obeyed and began walking back to his truck to meet with a police officer when Martin confronted and then attacked him shortly afterwards. While it's impossible to prove one way or the other with the evidence available, Zimmerman's story is consistent with the facts presented at trial.

5) Could Trayvon Martin have gotten away? Since Martin was being followed by someone he didn't know, it would be perfectly understandable if he was alarmed by that and worried about his safety. Given that, while he was not legally obligated to flee, it should be noted that Martin had at least two opportunities to do so. In fact, his friend Rachel Jeantel, who famously noted that Martin referred to Zimmerman as a "creepy ass cracker," admitted that she suggested he run away. Had he done so or had he even just walked home, he would have made it before Zimmerman ever arrived at the spot where they had their final confrontation.

Although it is impossible to know for sure who threw the first punch or how the fight started, Martin had a second opportunity to break off his conflict with Zimmerman. When eyewitness John Good saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, raining blows down on him, he told him to"cut it out" and then said, "I'm calling 911." At that point, Martin was in physical command of the situation, was obviously winning the fight and there was a witness. If he wanted to end things, he could have broken off the fight at that point and asked Good for help. Instead, he chose to keep on beating Zimmerman.

6) Who was yelling for help? Given the conflicting testimony from experts, along with the friends and family of Martin and Zimmerman, it's probably not possible to say with 100% certainty who was yelling for help. That being said, given that the back to Zimmerman's head was lacerated, he claimed Martin was slamming the back of his head into the cement, and the best eyewitness, John Good, said Martin was on top of Zimmerman attacking him "ground and pound" style, it seems much more likely Zimmerman was the one calling for help.

7) Why did Zimmerman shoot Trayvon Martin? By the time the final gunshot was fired, John Good had gone back inside to call 911; so no one saw what happened. According to Zimmerman, Martin attacked him, was beating him and hammering the back of his head into the concrete. Then, Martin saw the gun that Zimmerman had, said "You're going to die tonight," and reached for the gun. At that point, Zimmerman feared for his life, shot up at Martin and killed him. John Good has already testified that Martin was on top of Zimmerman striking down at him, which verifies that part of his story.

According to Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a former chief medical examiner in Texas, who testified in Zimmerman's defense, Zimmerman...

"...had at least six injuries after his clash with Martin - including two on the back of his head that appeared to indicate impacts with concrete - one on each temple, one on his forehead and one on his nose.

...Lacerations to Zimmerman's head suggested the use of 'severe force,' he said, lending credence to his claim that Martin slammed Zimmerman's head into a concrete walkway after knocking him to the ground with a punch that broke his nose."

Dimao also noted that the trajectory of the bullet was, "consistent with somebody leaning over the person doing the shooting," which also buttresses Zimmerman's claims.

In other words, Zimmerman's testimony is consistent with the facts and entirely plausible, although of course, Trayvon Martin isn't around to give his side of the story.

Conclusion: It's sad that this case has become polluted with politics, racial grievances and wild speculation in the media because the evidence in this case overwhelmingly suggests that it should be considered a tragedy, not a crime.

Pelosi Denies that Obamacare Employer Mandate Was Illegally Delayed

Semi-News/Semi-Satire ^ | 12 July 2013 | John Semmens

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) rejected accusations that the Obama Administration's postponement of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's “employer mandate” is an illegal delay.
“First of all, a 'postponement' is not a 'delay,'” Pelosi insisted as she attempted to make her point using a football analogy. “In football, a team can be assessed a penalty for 'illegal delay of game' if they don't get a play underway within the allotted time limit. However, a football game can simply be rescheduled to an entirely different day without penalty. What the President did was reschedule the employer mandate to an entirely different day. That is not illegal and no penalty should be assessed.”
“And on the matter of whether President Obama is entitled to reschedule the implementation—isn't he, in effect, the quarterback of 'Team America?' Pelosi asked. “The voters elected him to be their leader. Congress may have sent in a play by enacting the Affordable Care Act, but shouldn't he be able to call an 'audible' if, in his judgment, the provisions of that Act need revision to be most effective?”
Pelosi rebutted GOP arguments that if the employer mandate is delayed, so too should the individual mandate. “It's an entirely different situation,” she maintained. “If the President thinks the individual mandate should go ahead as originally planned who are we to second guess him? So far, he's been right far more often than he's been wrong. After all, he was reelected. I say we trust him and follow his lead wherever it takes us.”
if you missed any of this week's other semi-news/semi-satire posts you can find them at...

Five myths about Wal-Mart

Washington Post ^ | 07/13/2013 | Rebekah Peeples Massengill

Wal-Mart has attracted controversy for decades: Its supporters laud its low prices and market efficiencies, while its opponents charge that the company exploits workers, destroys local economies and pollutes the environment. Now, despite warnings from the retailer that it would reconsider its plans to open three stores in Washington, the D.C. Council has passed a living-wage bill that would require Wal-Mart to pay its workers here at least $12.50 per hour. Let’s examine a few of these impressions about the world’s largest retailer.
1. Only lower-income people shop at Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart sells lots of cheap stuff, so it’s no surprise that low- and middle-income shoppers are the store’s most regular customers. However, wealthier people are among the more than 60 percent of Americans who shop at Wal-Mart each month. A 2005 Pew Research Center survey found that more than three-quarters of respondents from households earning more than $75,000 a year thought Wal-Mart was a good place to shop, and nearly 80 percent of them had shopped at Wal-Mart in the previous year. Of customers in this income group, 38 percent described themselves as regular Wal-Mart shoppers.
2. Critics just want to unionize Wal-Mart workers.
Most of the efforts to improve working conditions and compensation at Wal-Mart are led by union-funded groups that have been branded as allies of Big Labor seeking only to line their pockets with more union dues. But practically, none of these efforts has focused on formally unionizing Wal-Mart’s unorganized domestic workforce.
Instead, as early as 2005, groups such as Walmart Watch and Wake Up Walmart waged a largely successful campaign focusing not on Wal-Mart workers’ union status but on their compensation and benefits. A year after Walmart Watch was founded, the retail giant lowered premiums on its health insurance policies
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama’s Rule by Decree: The collapse of law is the Obama administration’s most egregious scandal.

National Review ^ | 07/13/2013 | Andrew Mccarthy

Barack Obama has never been clear on the distinction between sovereign and servant, between the American people and those, including himself, elected to do the people’s business. We saw that yet again this week with the president’s unilateral rewrite of the Bataan Death March known as the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare. For this president, laws are not binding expressions of the popular will, but trifling recommendations to be ignored when expedient.
The collapse of law — not just Obamacare but law in general — is the Obama administration’s most egregious scandal. With the IRS here, Benghazi there, and Eric Holder’s institutionalized malevolence crowding the middle, it gets little direct attention. Perhaps it is so ubiquitous, so quotidian, that we’ve become inured to it.
Above all else, though, the office of the president was created to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. For this president, to the contrary, law is non-existent — and not merely law in the traditional sense of our aspiration to be “a nation of laws not men.” Obama has contorted the law into a weapon against our constitutional order of divided powers and equal protection for every American.
As with most things Obama, this Olympian outrage springs from a kernel of propriety. We want our laws enforced, particularly when they reflect basic obligations of government in a free, civil society. Nevertheless, we know that the resources of government are finite, that laws are numerous and elastic, and that a federalist system implies a significant enforcement role for states. Thus, our legal system is premised on executive discretion. Not every law can or should be enforced to its fullest extent — nobody would want to live in that sort of society. To execute the laws faithfully is to remain mindful of the federal government’s essential but finite role in our framework and to concentrate its limited resources on enforcement of the most vital laws.
As a practical matter, this necessitates selectivity — some laws will go unenforced, some wrongs unaddressed. With a president who acts in good faith, this is not a problem. For example, simple possession of prohibited narcotics is a federal crime. But it is also a state crime. Given the need to prioritize, it is sensible for the feds to focus their efforts on what the federal government was designed for — international and interstate challenges that the states are not well equipped to address. So the Justice Department targets major drug-importation and distribution networks, leaving less serious drug infractions to the local district attorneys. Notice: This does not mean the executive branch is effectively decriminalizing less serious drug offenses in contravention of Congress’s statutes. It means the public’s federal buck goes to where it gets the best bang.
The separation-of-powers principle also has implications for executive discretion. To promote liberty, the Framers constructed a central government of divided authorities in which each branch was given tools to check inevitable encroachments by the others. Congress has an irresistible propensity to enact laws that usurp the powers of the executive and the states, and that erode the rights of the people. But Congress can only write the laws. It must depend on the president to execute them.
A president who believes in good faith that a congressional act is constitutionally invalid may properly decline to enforce it — in fact, he would in good conscience be bound to decline — at least until the Supreme Court has ruled on its validity. Faithfully executing the laws has never mandated that a president enforce unconstitutional statutes.
But note that this is a matter of legal legitimacy, not policy preference. Faithful execution, abiding by the president’s oath of office, means enforcing even those laws a president disagrees with on policy grounds if the laws are plainly constitutional. The Constitution gives Congress a wide berth to enact unwise laws, to say nothing of perfectly sensible laws that are uncongenial to a hard-left ideologue. There is nothing wrong with a president’s working to change those laws; in the meantime, though, he breaks his solemn pledge by failing to enforce them.
Bona fide concerns over resource allocation and constitutionality are narrow exceptions to the general rule that obliges presidents to execute the laws. In Obama’s hands, however, executive discretion has become an affirmative license for lawbreakers. Worse, it has seamlessly devolved into an invitation — an inducement — to official malfeasance. Again, only the executive branch can enforce the law. When executive-branch officials know that illegal actions on their part will not be pursued, they are encouraged to commit them.
Thus Obama eschews enforcement of the immigration laws not because they are comparatively trivial or adequately covered by state police — indeed, his most notable enforcement efforts are directed not at illegal aliens but at states who dare attempt to see to the law’s faithful execution. Obama’s discretionary non-enforcement is not a good-faith husbanding of federal resources but a cynical enterprise in rewarding lawbreakers and cultivating them as a dependable political constituency. His Justice Department practices racial discrimination in the enforcement of the civil-rights laws, a grievous betrayal of the Constitution, in order to appease and empower his political base.
he faithful execution of laws is never partisan; under Obama, the execution of laws is intensely partisan. He purports to make “recess appointments” when Congress is not in recess. He skirts Congress’s constitutional war powers by pretending that attacking another country (Libya) is not making war. If his core supporters are damaged by the suffocating laws he champions — most prominently, Obamacare — he claims the power to “waive” their provisions selectively. Meanwhile, huge bureaucracies are encouraged, expressly or by nod-and-wink, to harass the president’s opponents and push forward his redistributionist, production-strangling, Islamist-empowering agenda. The executive order — formerly an intra-branch efficiency device designed to organize the exercise of the president’s constitutional powers and the enforcement of Congress’s laws — has effectively become legislation, the president substituting his edicts for our laws.
In a vibrant, pluralistic society, law, as an expression of the sovereign will, is unavoidably a product of compromise. In the contentious process, the competing sides bend; they settle on something that neither, given their druthers, would support; and they honorably agree to abide by the result. Under Obama, however, massive laws are enacted — such that no one can conceivably know what the law is. Then the president enforces the parts he approves of, contemptuously disregards the parts that enticed naysayers into compromising, and presumes to amend or repeal inconvenient provisions at his whim.
That is not the rule of law. It is how a dictatorship works.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

Zimmerman Judge Ran Kangaroo Court

Investor's Business Daily ^ | July 12, 2013 | The Editors

Injustice: There are biased judges, and then there's Debra Nelson, who's presided over what can only be called a kangaroo court in the George Zimmerman trial.

The bias of Nelson, Florida Circuit Court judge and a lifelong Democrat, in favor of the prosecution and its efforts to railroad Zimmerman as a racist murderer has been palpable throughout the case. Her actions, which have actively aided the state, could poison jurors and factor into future litigation.

Her shameful rulings and behavior, therefore, are worth cataloging, and include:
• Suppressing exculpatory evidence recovered from the (double-password-protected) cell-phone of Trayvon Martin that reveal deleted texts of the 17-year-old bragging about street-fighting with friends and relatives and photos showing him brandishing guns, gangsta-style. This evidence supports Zimmerman's claim he feared Martin and shot in self-defense.
• Disallowing Martin's criminal background, including arrests by Miami-Dade school district police for drugs, theft, graffiti and other delinquent behavior. (Martin, in fact, had been suspended from school the week he jumped Zimmerman inside his gated townhouse complex, after police found stolen jewelry and burglary tools inside his backpack.)
• Excluding any testimony from audio experts who could definitively ID Zimmerman's voice screaming for help on 911 calls as Martin bashed his head against a concrete sidewalk.
• Allowing, conversely, the last-minute request of plainly desperate prosecutors to have jurors consider an alternative lesser charge of manslaughter to try to secure some kind of conviction, any kind of punishment, in the complete absence of a sound murder case.
• Never sanctioning the prosecution despite Zimmerman's lawyers justifiably filing no fewer than six formal complaints against the state for withholding exculpatory and other evidence from them in violation of discovery rules.
• Yet repeatedly overruling — at times even reprimanding — Zimmerman's lawyers when they objected to the underhanded tactics....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Who is Barack Hussein Obama, or is it Barry Soetoro?

canadafreepress ^ | July 12, 2013 | By Doug Hagmann

With each passing day, it becomes more evident that the United States is a “captured operation,” and has been taken over from within. At the epicenter of the tyrannical takeover is none other than Barack Hussein Obama, a man also known as Barry Soetoro.
The terrifying yet largely unreported fact is that after two elections and nearly five years, we still do not know with certainty the legal name, true legal identity or status of the man holding the highest office in America.
Equally disturbing, and something that should concern everyone, is that anyone who continues to raise questions about Obama’s eligibility status or the authenticity of his long form birth certificate is either subjected to public ridicule or worse, threats to their safety.
This issue was again brought to the forefront last month when Mike Zullo, lead investigator for the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff’s Cold Case Posse tasked with looking into the Obama eligibility matter, held a public update regarding the status of their investigation. Mr. Zullo publicly confirmed the facts contained in an exclusive report published on August 4, 2009, by me and Canada Free Press founding editor Judi McLeod, when we jointly disclosed that a national talk show host stated that he was threatened with his career, “or worse,” should he talk about the issue of Barack Hussein Obama’s birth records to a national audience.
About three minutes into his public investigative update, Mr. Zullo stated:
“I have been in contact with prominent media people, I cannot and will not disclose their identities that was the commitment I made. They fear for their jobs and some fear for their safety. There were threats made. There were people threatened with their occupations, losing their occupation if they continue this.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

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