Monday, November 18, 2013

Lying about Lies

Townhall.com ^ | November 18, 2013 | Michael Tanner 

In politics today, the terms “lie” and “liar” tend to be used far too casually. If a politician makes a mistake, says something that later turns out to be incorrect, or even says something we disagree with, we all too quickly break out the “L” word. But President Obama’s promise that “if you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan,period” really does amount to deliberate dishonesty.
The president has now apologized —sort of — for misleading people. But such protestations would be far more credible if the president and his administration didn’t continue saying things that are, let us generously say, inaccurate. For example:
It’s the insurance companies’ fault.
The Obama administration continues to suggest that it’s not the health-care law that is causing people to lose their current plan, but rather unscrupulous insurance companies, which are canceling plans for reasons unrelated to Obamacare.
That’s nonsense. The genesis of the cancellations start with the law’s individual and employer mandates. If the government is going to require you to buy or provide insurance, then it must define what is and is not insurance. This is only logical. If a person could theoretically pay $1 for an insurance plan with a $10 million deductible, it would defeat the whole purpose of the mandate.
Many of the benefits that Obamacare requires are already included in nearly all insurance plans, such as outpatient care, emergency-room treatment, hospitalization, and laboratory tests. Others, however, are less common: maternity and newborn care, mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services, a wide variety of preventative and wellness services, chronic-disease management, pediatric services, and dental and vision care for children.
It is true that, as the president says, those individuals and businesses who had insurance prior to March 23, 2010, are “grandfathered in,” meaning they theoretically do not have to change their current insurance to meet the new minimum benefit. However, if there has been any “substantial change,” whether instigated by insurers by or the purchaser, to the plan after March 2010, or there is any such change in the future, the plan loses its grandfathered status and can no longer be sold by the insurer.
The law did not specify what would be considered a substantial change, but the Department of Health and Human Services subsequently issued regulations defining substantial change as cutting or reducing benefits, raising co-pays by more than $5 (or the rate of medical inflation), increasing deductibles over a certain threshold, lowering employer contributions, or raising coinsurance charges.
Such minor changes are a normal part of the insurance-renewal process. Previously, they would have gone essentially unnoticed by consumers. Today, they force a wholesale redesign of the policy. Insurers may be technically responsible for the cancellations, but their hands are forced by the law.
Moreover, in some localities — notably California, Idaho, Kentucky, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia — insurance companies were actually prohibited from participating in the state insurance exchanges unless they agreed to immediately cancel all non-ACA-compliant insurance plans sold in the state. As a spokesman for California’s Anthem Blue Cross explained, “In order to participate in Covered California as a qualified health plan, the contract required us to cancel non-ACA-compliant plans on December 31.”
The cancellations will affect only a small number of people, those who buy individual policies.
In making this claim, the president focuses on the individual market, which he accurately notes covers about 5 percent of Americans. Still, that is about 14 to 15 million people. So far, as of mid November, roughly 4.8 million individual insurance plans have been canceled, with most estimates suggesting that as many as 10 million will eventually lose their current coverage.
But the same conditions that are causing the cancellation of individual policies will eventually result in thecancellation of millions of employment-based policies as well. The only reason that hasn’t happened yet is that the employer mandate was postponed for a year, so employer plans don’t yet have to be ACA-compliant. But they will. Even the Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as 20 million workers will lose their current employer-sponsored plans. Combine that with those losing individual plans, and more than 30 million Americans cannot keep their current insurance.
It could be far more. As Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute points out, some 51 percent of the employer-based insurance market will lose grandfathered status and need to make changes to comply with Obamacare provisions. That could mean that, in total, as many as 93 million will lose their insurance. That’s not exactly “a few.”
The policies being canceled are “substandard,” offering few if any real benefits.
No doubt some of the canceled policies really did offer few benefits. For example, the roughly 106,000 mini-med policies discontinued in New Jersey did not provide coverage for outpatient drugs, prenatal care, or ambulance services, and covered only $700 per year for doctor visits. But there is no evidence that most canceled plans offered so little protection.
According to HealthPocket, a health-insurance consulting firm, fewer than 2 percent of individual plans on offer today meet all ACA requirements. The most frequent reason for noncompliance was not a failure to cover hospitalization, as the administration has suggested, but not providing pediatric care, including vision and dental care for children. A worthwhile benefit, perhaps, but if you are childless, it’s hard to see how lacking such a benefit makes your policy subpar.
As for employer plans, mini-med plans such as those in New Jersey make up less than 1 percent of plans. Most employer plans fail Obamacare compliance simply because they do not offer one or more of the ACA-specified benefits, such as maternity care or alcohol rehabilitation.
There may well be actuarial and “pooling” arguments for why such benefits should be part of insurance plans, but that doesn’t mean teetotalers forced to change plans because their current policy does not cover alcohol-rehabilitation services found their plan inadequate.
You will get a better and cheaper plan instead.
Having reluctantly admitted that some people will not be able to keep their current plans, the administration fell back to claim that customers will get even better plans to replace them — not just better, but cheaper too. (No doubt they will also throw in a set of Ginsu steak knives.)
Of course “better” is a subjective term. Certainly many of the new plans will be more comprehensive, offering benefits that were not included in the canceled plans — but if those benefits are useless to the customer, it’s a stretch.
People also might not consider a plan better if it no longer provides coverage for their current doctor. Changing insurance plans, even at the same employer, means a new network of covered providers; not every plan includes every doctor. But the problem is more pronounced for those forced to buy a new plan through an exchange. Insurance plans available on the exchanges — and in most states the number of insurers providing them is extremely limited — have been rapidly dropping doctors and hospitals from their networks.
As for “cheaper,” that’s even more debatable. Additional benefits generally come with a higher cost. For those receiving their insurance through work, some of the increased cost may be passed along directly to the employees in the form of higher premium contributions. Other costs may be initially borne by the employers but offset through lower wages.
Those who must buy insurance through exchanges will, of course, have some of the increased cost shifted to taxpayers through federal subsidies. However, even with those subsidies many, especially middle- and upper-income earners, may find themselves paying more. (Subsidies begin to phase out rapidly above 250 percent of the poverty line.)
So not quite cheaper and better after all.
He meant it when he said it.
Somehow the president continues to insist that he really was telling the truth when he promised that you could keep your plan — dozens of times — and is just as shocked as anyone else to find out that you can’t. This, despite the fact that his aides debated, both publicly and privately, about whether or not he should say something so demonstrably untrue. When you start lying about your lies, there really is a problem.

PT Standards in Question for Women in Combat

Nov 14, 2013

The Marine Corps may have to change its physical standards in order to put females in positions to one day lead infantry platoons in combat.
Both the Marine Corps and the Army continue to wrestle with the mandate that former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued in January, directing the U.S. military to open hundreds of combat-arms jobs that have been closed to female servicemembers.
So far, the Marines have been out ahead. 
The service has opened up infantry training to female officers and enlisted Marines as part of an effort to gather data on how females and males compare when performing infantry and other combat-arms-related skills, and how those findings relate to current male and female physical fitness standards.
The effort is scheduled to run until fall of 2014, but the results so far have drawn attention.
On Sept. 24, 15 enlisted female Marines began training with Delta Company at the Infantry Training Battalion course. Four of the initial volunteers remain in the course and are approaching the Nov. 21 graduation date.
So far, a total of 39 females have volunteered for the training and 23 remain, spread out over three classes. To qualify, the females had to pass the same physical screening as male Marines. At a minimum, they had to be able to do three pull-ups, 50 crunches in two minutes and run 3 miles in 28 minutes on the Physical Fitness Test.
Female Marine officers attempting to enter the Infantry Officer Course are not expected to meet the same physical fitness screening standards as male Marines, but they do have to match male performance in the course.
IOC is a demanding 13-week school that historically averages a 25-percent attrition rate. The first day puts students through a grueling Combat Endurance Test that consists of physically and academically challenging tasks that last all day, said Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Maureen Krebs. Marines wear combat gear, perform various physical tasks and answer tactical questions while negotiating a land-navigation course, she said.
All IOC candidates are pre-screened before they even show up for the course. Like their male counterparts, females need to have a top-level score on the PFT -- but under the Marine Corps female standard, not the male one, which does not require pull-ups.
Pull-ups are required on the Male PFT, and the standard requires 20 for a max score. 
The Marine Corps began experimenting with women performing pull-ups during the PFT about a year ago, but it's not mandatory. And women who do choose to do pull-ups only have to perform eight for a max score.
"It doesn’t set them up for success and actually puts them at risk for injury," said one Marine official with a background in physical fitness training. "A lot of the tasks on that course require students to lift their own body weight plus their equipment."
So far, the results have not been promising. Nine of the 10 females that volunteered out of The Basic Course failed to make it through the first day of IOC. The remaining female volunteer dropped because of an injury from the course a week later.
The Marine Corps will continue to allow female Marines to go through IOC and ITB until the research phase ends next fall. From there, the data will be compiled into a recommendation to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on how the Corps intends to open up certain combat-arms jobs to women by Jan. 1, 2016.
The Corps has also been evaluating the physically-demanded tasks required for combat-arms related jobs in about 335 Military Occupation Specialties.
The service conducted "proxy tests" this summer, involving 400 females and 400 males at Quantico Marine Base, Va., and at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The tests looked at tasks such as "lifting a tank round and loading it," Krebs said.
"The data from the performance on those proxy tests will be correlated against the performance of the Marines doing physical fitness and combat fitness test events," Krebs said.
"And we will kind of see … if a Marine gets a 300 on the PFT and CFT; how well they do on the MOS tasks. So we are looking at that to see … whether or not these physical standards are applicable to these MOSs.
"Depending on what the data says, and what it shows, it will decide whether or not any of the standards for the MOSs need to change."
It's unclear if the Marine Corps will decide to require males and females to perform the same PFT standards, but officials said that the service has no plans to lower the physical requirements of Marine infantry training.
"Those physically-demanding tasks are performance-based standards that all Marines in that MOS must be able to perform," Krebs said. "So whether you are male or whether you are female, that's the standard and that is what we are going to hold it to."

Would Obama do the unthinkable and sign the death warrant of Obamacare?

American Thinker ^ | 11/18/2013 | Rick Moran 


So, it's come to this. What appeared to be a fantasy during the shutdown, has entered the realm of the possible. Things may get so bad with Democrats and Obamacare, that they may be willing to join with Republicans and vote for repeal - under certain circumstances.

What would Obama do then?

Josh Kraushaar of National Journal:

This tsunami of blowback, which built in just the last month, is unsustainable for Democrats over the long haul. The president isn't just losing his skeptics from the chaotic Obamacare rollout but his allies who stood to gain from the law's benefits -- namely Hispanics, whose approval of the president has dropped more than any demographic subgroup since the problems began. The simplest solution -- if only to stop the bleeding -- is to get the website fixed. (When former DNC Chairman Howard Dean's proposal is to hire tens of thousands of young phone operators to sign people up for insurance -- straight out of a Jerry Lewis telethon -- as he suggested on "Morning Joe," it's clear the website problems are really bad.).
Would President Obama sign a death warrant on his own signature legislation? That's almost impossible to imagine, but it's entirely reasonable that he may not have a choice in the matter. Consider: Despite the White House's protestations, 62.4 percent of the House voted for Michigan GOP Rep. Fred Upton's legislation (261-157), just shy of the two-thirds necessary to override a veto. And consider the House Democrats who voted against Upton's bill but nonetheless released harsh statements criticizing Obamacare.


(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

“The Cure for Obamacare: The Widely Accepted Alternative and a New Idea to Go with It”

Hugh Hewitt.com ^ | November18,2013 | Clark S. Judge 

At a luncheon in Washington last week, I stumbled across something new in the Obamacare debate.
Most of the attendees were reporters. The inevitable question came up: If not Obamacare, what? And when a Republican ran through an answer (equalizing tax treatment of insurance bought through employers and individually; allowing insurance policies approved in one state to be sold in all; HSAs and high deductible plans; medical liability reform), the reception was attentive, not dismissive.
In other words, Washington is starting to take seriously the prospect of repeal and replace.
An effective reform package will have more items in it that those mentioned at the lunch. Here is a link to short (four and a half minutes) video from Pacific Research Institute that lays out the main points of the widely accepted alternative: http://bit.ly/1jeZYv3. The video was produced to launch the Encounter Broadside The Cure for Obamacare by PRI president Sally Pipes (http://amzn.to/1fOpvLG), which goes through the agenda in detail.
I want to put out an additional reform – at least in concept. It has to do with FDA certification of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
(Excerpt) Read more at hughhewitt.com ...

Love Your Government—And Its Forms: The Common Core Prepares Young People for Bureaucracy!

Townhall.com ^ | November 18, 2013 | Terrence Moore 


The Founding Fathers understood government forms. What they meant by the term was the arrangement of power found in any civil society, whether monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy. This is what Thomas Jefferson meant when he wrote in the Declaration, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,” and “mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” The careful, prudent balancing of the forms of government in the U.S. Constitution—combining the energy of monarchy, the wisdom of aristocracy, and the accountability of democracy—is what effected the “Safety and Happiness” promised in the Declaration and made possible by winning the Revolution itself. So important is knowing our form of government for the flourishing of this republic that the Founding Fathers (Jefferson especially) considered a thorough study of history and civics in schools as indispensable for preserving our lives, our liberties, and indeed our happiness.
The new national educational regime called the Common Core does not intend for students to study those forms of government. In the middle school, the Common Core calls upon students to read only the First Amendment. Apparently the other Amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights, say the Second Amendment or the Tenth, would be too taxing for fourteen-year-old minds, even though the laws of many states require students of that age to study in every detail their own sexual constitutions. Nor do even high school students get the green light to study the whole Constitution, but at this point only the Bill of Rights. Now, admittedly, the eagerly awaited Common Core Standards for “social studies” may have students learn more about their government. But why then does the Common Core have students in English class read modern commentaries on the Constitution that employ phrases such as “master class,” “ugly,” and “vicious” unless to undermine the Constitution without bothering to read and understand it?
While the architects of the Common Core apparently do not want students to study the forms of government as understood by the Founding Fathers, they do want students studying another kind of government form with which we have become all too familiar. Here is a discussion that is supposed to take place between teacher and students in an American literature class in the eleventh grade as scripted in a Common Core textbook:
About Government Forms
1.Before going over the Virginia Department of Historical Resources form, discuss with students their own experiences with government forms. One common experience may be a learner’s permit or driver’s license application.
Ask: What kinds of information are typically sought by government forms? Why do you think governments require this information?
Possible response: Based on their experience with application forms, students may mention name, address, phone number, age, and other contact and identifying information. In the case of licensing, for example, a government that grants an individual permission to drive needs to be able to identify and contact that person.
The form itself, while not interesting, is nonetheless revealing. Under the heading “cultural affiliation” (for a tract of land to be excavated), the applicant is asked to choose from “African-American,” “Euro-American,” “Indeterminate,” “Native American,” and “Other.” The editors provide coaching on how to cozy up to such questions on this or any other form: “Checklists provide an efficient way to gather important information.” Notice that the term “cultural affiliation” has replaced the more transparent “race” or “ethnic origin.” Can a tract of landaffiliate with a culture? In personal terms, aren’t we all, culturally speaking, simply Americans?
We could ask numerous questions of this exercise, scripted by the ever-intrusive editors of Pearson/Prentice Hall’s LITERATURE, The American Experience, volume one, Common Core Edition, page 561. Why are students in a literature class messing around with government forms? What could be read during the time wasted on this exercise? (Poe, Melville, Twain anyone?) Is the Virginia Department of Historical Resources form one of these high-quality “informational texts” promised by the Common Core that are supposed to train our children in “critical thinking” for the “twenty-first-century global economy” that we hear so much about and no one bothers to explain?
Yet the most salient question seems to be, what kind of human being, what kind of American citizen, are the architects of the Common Core trying to produce? Is this an example of “critical thinking” or of uncritical acceptance of unrelenting boredom in the American classroom and unthinking compliance in our political lives?
I wish I could say that this is the most egregious example of the superficiality, the absurdity, and the clear political bias that pervade the testing and curricular regime called the Common Core. Alas, not even close. There are scores, probably hundreds, of other instances of silliness and indoctrination that plague the high school curriculum alone. It is vital that parents learn what is already going on in the nation’s classrooms and how much worse things will get under the Common Core. What is more, we must as parents and citizens learn to break the code of the progressive educational establishment—which holds too many politicians and regular folk spellbound. To that end, I have written a book, drawing on my experience as a genuine school reformer, that is a thorough exposé of the Common Core. The book is called The Story-Killers. The title derives from the conviction that the authors of the Common Core are doing a lot more than dumbing down our schools. They are trying to rub out the great stories of a great people: the literature that we used to love, learn from, and be inspired by, as well as the Great American Story of human beings living in freedom and pursuing happiness under the rule of law. There has never been a great people without great stories. And we are losing ours right now in classrooms across this land.

By the way, there is one other form of government we should know about and avoid like the plague. It is called progressive bureaucracy. And it has lots of forms to fill out.

After the ObamaCare collapse, what's next?

Townhall.com ^ | November 18, 2013 | Bob Beauprez 

Just six weeks into the rollout of ObamaCare, the speculation is over. Democrat Senator Max Baucus has been proven remarkably prescient when months ago he opined that it would be a "train wreck." In fact, he understated the reality we now know to be true.
A totally dysfunctional website, anemic sign up numbers, privacy violations, millions of cancelations of existing plans, skyrocketing premiums and deductibles, a financial model already shattered, and the President lying about how he really wasn't lying all those other times. Optimism and high expectations are shattered.
ObamaCare will collapse. That already seems obvious. As bad as the first six weeks have been, the worst is still to come. Even Democrats who voted for it are crying "fix it" and looking for someone to blame other than themselves.
Many more opportunities to criticize the President's legacy legislation will present themselves. But, with the collapse a virtual certainty, the question of "What's next?" should take center stage.
A loyal reader of this space asked me recently, "You guys have lots of criticism of the President and ObamaCare, but where are your solutions?" A fair question.

Actually, I have offered my ideas in considerable detail. In January, 2009 I published my first book, A Return to Values: A Conservative Looks at His Party. In the book I proposed an "Agenda for America" for the GOP to adopt to regain public credibility after a couple of bruising election cycles. Party benefits aside, it was my attempt to offer solutions for the macro-challenges facing the country. "Transition to Patient-Centered Health Care" was the subject of Chapter 9.

That chapter in its entirety is found below. And if an author might be allowed a little personal privilege, after what America has endured over the last five years, I think it may be more relevant today as serious food for thought than it was when first published – which just happened to be the same month Barack Obama was first inaugurated.
The chapter was not then intended to be all inclusive, nor is it for today. It is simply my attempt to provide a solid framework for a beginning. The opinions and ideas you'll find in the essay flow naturally from the Principle of Freedom espoused in the following concluding paragraph from the chapter. I hope you will read it, and that it might cause you to think about solutions, too. Because after the collapse, somebody is going to have to have a better plan.
"As parents have for too long been closed out of their children's classrooms, likewise patients have been shut out of their own healthcare decisions. The solutions to solving the challenges we face can be summed up in one word – Freedom. And patients don't become more free when government gets bigger and more in control of their lives. Republicans need to say it, explain it, and deliver on the promise."

Up Your Ass

1452218_610454965667757_1655016365_n.jpg

Podium BS

25u16d0.jpg

My insurance is secure!

hsrvgi.jpg

The Lying Sack of...

A-Lying-Sack-Poster.jpg

The Sorriest!

168iqs7.jpg

NOT GOOD!

wmayxe.jpg

Red-Headed Stranger!

35cfkmg.gif

Law of the land?

9iehrp.jpg

Waterboard Obama

189887.jpg

The Hindenburg

189885.jpg

Liberal vs Conservative

189877.jpg

The Dreams

189876.jpg

COVER!

139622_600.jpg

Prevaricator

Liar-in-chief.jpg

The Jackass

jackass-in-the-room.jpg

Remember This!

fx5uro.jpg

Politics and Murder

291dpop.jpg

Poverty

140089_600.jpg

Obama Transparency

6r6lqf.jpg

The Obama Defense

The-Obama-Defense.jpg

If you voted for Obama!

24gvpde.jpg

The short straw

bd4dv.png

Viagra for ObamaCare?

23i8qoh.jpg

ObamaCare Navigator

Crime-Nav-590-LI-.jpg

Some quick and interesting facts for your Democratic friends!

christianblogs.christianet.com ^ 

13th Amendment: Abolished slavery. 100% republican support, 23% democrat Support.

14th Amendment: citizenship to freed slaves. 94% republican support, 0% democrat support.

15th Amendment: voting rights for all. 100% republican support, 0% democrat support.

From Wikipedia: "The republican party was founded in 1854 by Northern anti-slavery activists. The main cause was opposition to slavery. The Republicans saw the expansion of slavery as a great evil. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president."

Obamacare: 0% Republican Support, 100% Democrat Support

(Excerpt) Read more at christianblogs.christianet.com ...