Monday, December 2, 2013

ObamaCare Mission Accomplished (The system isn't working and the website isn't fixed.)

The Wall Street Journal ^ | December 1, 2013 

HHS touts other measures of progress—four times as much of this, doubled capacity of that—without revealing the original base. They've fixed those 400 bugs but won't say what they are or how many there are in total. Such statistical ploys are like a business claiming its revenues are twice as high as the last quarter's, in order to avoid saying if it's profitable.
Our favorite line in the report is the HHS boast that "the team is operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness." That sure is a remarkable two-month turnaround for the same team that took three and half years to botch the initial launch at a cost of more than $1 billion, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Government.
If this miracle fix is real, the White House will open the ObamaCare black box to an independent audit, or maybe start by answering questions honestly. But on a conference call with reporters Sunday, HHS refused to say how much progress the team had made on technical problems that are seeding insurance companies with bad information about who is signing up and for what products. It knows the insurers will keep quiet lest they make themselves political targets.
The mission accomplished pose is another attempt to power through a political deadline. Americans who have now discovered the Administration's other false claims—you can keep your old plan and your doctor, and the new plans are better—can be forgiven for waiting to see the actual results.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...

Hillary Clinton Partied While Benghazi Mission Begged for Help

FrontPage Mag ^ | 12/02/2013 | Daniel Greenfield 

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Hillary Clinton can’t point to any actual diplomatic achievements during her time as Secretary of State. The one thing they bring up endlessly is how often she traveled and how many parties she attended.

Take this New York Times profile
In contrast, even when members of Mrs. Clinton’s own party describe her achievements, they tend to point to a lot of miles traveled (956,733 to be exact).
While at the State Department, Mrs. Clinton enjoyed generally positive media coverage and some of her highest approval ratings. She was often portrayed as a pantsuit-wearing globe-trotter, hitting the dance floor in Pretoria, South Africa, and partying in Cartagena, Colombia.
Because 8 years of a White House occupant who goes from party to party just weren’t enough. And what was going on while Hillary Clinton was “hitting the dance floor“?
On August 30, just 12 days before the U.S. Consulate was overrun in a coordinated terrorist attack and four Americans were murdered, Clinton was in Rarotonga, a South Pacific island between New Zealand and Hawaii, population 13,000. Judging by the festive, tropical welcome party pics, it looks like it was a fun time.
Is that unfair? Not at all.
Three intelligence reports recently uncovered by the American Media Institute’s Richard Miniter and Susan Katz Keating detail an Islamic militant rally in Benghazi on June 7-8 with 300 armed-men, flying the Al Qaeda flag, sporting automatic rifles and rocket launchers.
According to Miniter & Katz Keating, writing earlier this month in Investors Business Daily, “At that rally, terror leaders called for the murder of American diplomats.”

On August 15, 2012, the U.S. Mission in Benghazi convened an emergency meeting, and the following day sent a classified cable to Secretary Clinton notifying her that it could not defend against a “coordinated attack.”
Considering the June attack on the consulate, the August emergency meeting, and over 200 terror-related incidents in Libya since strongman Muammar Qaddafi was ousted, the U.S. embassy in Tripoli repeatedly requested additional security from State Dept. headquarters in Washington.
So what did then-Secretary Hillary Clinton and staff do? While staff turned down multiple media requests, she got out of town. Literally.
She packed her bags and traveled the world, visiting 112 countries, the most ever by any Secretary of State, and according to State Dept. records, logged nearly 1 million miles.
While Hillary Clinton was promoting her image as a world traveler in preparation for her presidential run, she was turning the State Department into her political campaign and neglecting her duties.
That neglect led to the murder of four Americans.
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What difference does it make anyway?

This is what a majority of the women in America see as leadership.
Hillary Clinton Partied While Benghazi Mission Begged for Help
People ... people ... Your Queen is heeeeeere! Now, where are my strippers? 
When Hillary was First Lady and walked the halls of the White House, it was known fact that her subordinates were not to make unwanted eye contact with her.So, it is good to see that she has lightened up a bit. 
Suggest you get this spiffy bumper sticker early as supply levels are dropping faster than Willie's pants in a room full of interns!
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First Lady of Booze and the Secretary of Partying.

California Considers Giving Away Free Electric Cars to the Poor!

FrontPage Mag ^ | 12/02/2013 | Daniel Greenfield 



What do the poor need most? Jobs? Nah. In Governor Moonbeam’s California they need free electric cars.
Free means that you’ll be paying for them. Even if you’re not a California resident, there will probably be Federal money involved.
“The California Air Resources Board is now embarking on a program that would help poor people buy energy-efficient vehicles. In one scenario posed by the agency, a “voucher” might even pay the full price for a Nissan Leaf, an electric car with an MSRP above $21,000, or for used cars with lower price tags.”
But it only stands to reason. If companies like Tesla and Karma get gobs of money from Obama. It’s time to make electric cars go full welfare.
“Apparently, wealthy people already are benefiting from subsidies to high-end electric car makers such as the Tesla. This law brings car subsidies directly to lower-income people. The law was authored by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabassas, recently named one of two Legislators of the Year by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers for her efforts to promote cleaner air.”
Sure. Cleaner air. Has nothing to do with a plan to buy and give away cars that no one wants.
Not even a possibility.
“It finds, for instance, the agency would need to pay the “full cost” of a vehicle for a family of two to buy a new electric car or $18,000 for a family of three to buy a used hybrid.”
Why not also buy them dinner for a year and throw in weekly theater tickets. It’s for the environment.
Come to California, where there’s no money to pay the cops or firefighters, but there’s plenty of money to buy electric cars for the poor.

America's Excuse Book: Take Your Choice, Victim Or Heartless Hypocrite

Zerohedge ^ | 12/02/2013 | Tyler Durden 

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog

Yes, there are injustices and imbalances of power and wealth that we collectively need to remedy. But the way to do that is to embrace fact, responsibility, choice, consequence and thrift rather than deny those realities in favor of a false dichotomy of victim and non-victim.
...
Are the "poor" really too poor to buy fresh ingredients? Let's start with the fact that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49% of Americans Get Gov’t Benefits; 82 million in Households on Medicaid. That means roughly 156 million Americans out of 317 million total population are receiving cash benefits (i.e. direct transfers) from the Federal government. Approximately 57 million receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
Over 47.6 million people get SNAP food stamps, a non-cash benefit that acts just like cash at the grocery store. Clearly, the vast majority of those with low incomes receive government cash or equivalent benefits.
How many "poor" people routinely buy fast food meals that cost $3 or more? How many buy frozen waffles, chips, snacks, frozen pizzas, etc. with food stamps, purchases that add up to way more money than the ingredients of the Thanksgiving dinner that so enraged the reader? How many households would it take to pool some food stamps to spend $130 to make 40-50 servings of a great, healthy home-cooked meal?
The excusers, enablers and guilt-trippers seek to divide the populace into two (and only two) classes: victims and non-victims, who are by definition heartless hypocrites (or worse).
Luckily for the excusers, enablers and guilt-trippers, America's Excuse Book runs into the thousands of pages. There are excuses for literally everyone and every situation; almost everyone can stake a claim to victimhood.
People have written me that the "poor" don't have stoves/ovens, and this is why they are forced to eat junk food. Really? What percentage of people in America live in dwellings without stoves/ovens? People in residential single-occupancy (RSOs) flophouses, perhaps, but precisely how many people of the 317 million Americans have zero access to a single burner?
I suspect the number is quite small.
As I have noted before, 2 billion people in China and India prepare meals with one burner and a wok. If I didn't have an oven, I can prepare a nice meal with a single-burner camp stove and a small wok. So can several billion other people.
This kind of refutation of victimhood enrages the excusers, enablers and guilt-trippers because it demolishes the primary claim of victimhood: that people have no other choices--in other words, denying that the vast majority of situations offer a range of choices, and that choices have consequences.
The basic assumption of excusers, enablers and guilt-trippers is that victimhood arises not from choices but from Fate or the heartlessness of those with "more."
Let's distinguish between Fate and consequences of choices. A person who discovers they have a brain tumor had no choice in the matter--the cancer was a matter of fate. A person who is obese due to poor dietary and fitness choices and presents their sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. etc. as fate is avoiding the causal connection between their lifestyle and life choices and their health problems.
Can we deny that most people have choices, even in poverty? Can we plausibly claim that poverty is all Fate and choice is inconsequential? If choice is inconsequential, then isn't our entire system of government and all major religions completely false, because they are all based on human will and choice being consequential?
If a person with low income chooses to stop buying fast food, junk food, sodas, snacks, chips and convenience food and only buys and prepare real food low on the food chain, they will instantly become wealthier because real food that is prepared and not thrown out is significantly cheaper than fast food, junk food, snacks, etc.
If the low-income person also stops smoking, they will also instantly become wealthier.
Since all that's needed to prepare the great cuisines of Asia is a single burner and single wok or equivalent, we don't need much to prepare healthy, tasty real-food meals. (I've posted photos here many times of my one-wok meals.)
If low-income (i.e. poverty) is fated, or the result of institutional forces that cannot be overcome, then how do we explain the multitudes of immigrants from every continent who arrive in America essentially penniless and who somehow manage to improve their lives despite low income, unfamiliarity with English, a dearth of institutional or family connections, etc. etc. etc.?
How is a low-income immigrant family able to pay off the mortgage on the family home in a few years while others blame the system for their heavy debt loads?
Since wealth creation is increasingly based on human and social capital and learning on one's own, the low-income person who stops watching TV and spending hours on social media will instantly be "wealthy" in terms of time that can be invested in building human and social capital--subjects I have written about extensively here, precisely because they require essentially no money other than an Internet connection. Building human and social capital is mostly a matter of effort and time. Anyone can improve their human and social capital and thus eventually their income and financial security.
Surveys routinely find that typical Americans spend 4-6 hours a day watching TV or other entertainment. The individual who chooses to take those 28-42 hours a week and invest them in mastering a new skill, seeking mentors, becoming a mentor--all the building blocks of human and social capital--will soon find that there are multiple returns on their investment of time and effort.
This kind of refutation of victimhood enrages the excusers, enablers and guilt-trippers for another reason: we know from psychology that two primary psychological defenses against accepting responsibility are transference and projection: if we can project our own ills onto others, we feel justified in our self-pitying victimhood.
If we can transfer the source of our problems (i.e. our own issues and failures) onto someone else, then we feel blameless for our own difficulties, i.e. being a victim.
This is why troubled families will often subconsciously select one child as the "cause" of the family's difficulties. If everyone blames this one child, they are magically free of responsibility.
This is the root psychology of the permanently-enraged excusers, enablers and guilt-trippers, i.e. those who have memorized entire chapters of the Book of Excuses: people are victims not from their own choices or a combination of choice and the fate that everyone is exposed to just by being alive, but because the non-victims are heartless hypocrites clinging greedily to everything that victims don't have access to, for example, a potluck Thanksgiving meal that costs $3.25 a serving.
Did the person who claims to be denied access to a $3/serving meal really do everything in their power to forego counterproductive or wasteful spending so they could spend their food stamps or cash on real food? Did they devote their spare time to building human and social capital, for example, learning how to cook, sharing meals with others, teaching others how to cook once they had learned, etc.?
Everyone who feels enraged by the previous paragraph has to ask themselves: what is the real root of your outrage and your need to make excuses for everyone with difficulties resulting from choices made in response to their circumstances?
The question is always: is there absolutely nothing that a person can do to improve their circumstances? Are there things that could be learned for free that would improve their life? Is there absolutely nothing they can do on their own behalf in terms of building human and scial capital, both of which require only effort and time? Are there absolutely no alternatives or choices, even in the smallest details of everyday life?
Stripped to its essence, the outrage of excusers, enablers and guilt-trippers is phony and self-righteous, a classic psychological defense against having to accept responsibility: blame the heartless who "should" be giving their own meal away (if you don't, you're a heartless hypocrite, you heartless hypocrite!), blame Fate or something/somebody, do anything but accept that there are choices and that choices have consequences, both short and long-term.
I have a number of disabilities that are "good enough" to claim membership in the victimhood class (one famously "owned" by a Steinbeck character) but they are none of anyone else's business. I think it's self-evident that victimhood and the sense of enraged, self-pitying entitlement it fosters is a dead-end, ethically, spiritually, psychologically, politically and financially.
According to Social Security, I have earned $543,718 in 43 years of ceaseless toil (2013 is not yet included, of course, so I have been working for 44 years), generally working 50-60 hours a week in multiple endeavors. That is $12,644 per year. That was a decent wage in 1977, now, not so much. Inflation makes it difficult to adjust previous years' income into "today's dollars," but however you figure it, it isn't the lifetime earnings of a "wealthy" person. And no, I have never received an inheritance or made a fortune in capital gains or made a ton of unreported income in the black market, nor did my wife have any advantages or unearned wealth.
(In fact, she dropped out of college to spend three years working 60+ workweeks in low-paying jobs to save the money to buy her single-parent mother a modest home. In other words, clearly she too is a heartless hypocrite for daring to spend hours preparing a meal from scratch for family, friends and neighbors.)
Thank goodness some people are so saintly and godlike that they can discern heartless hypocrites without knowing a darn thing about the people they so assuredly toss into the heartless hypocrite class. Now I know how the Inquisition worked: the saintly sinless fingered the heartless without needing any facts.
In 14 of the past 20 years, my net taxable wages were less than $10,000 a year.
In other words, by official measures, I have been "poor" for much of my working life.
For the vast majority of those who choose to write for money (as opposed to pursuing an unpaid hobby), one consequence of that choice is a low income. Choices have consequences; there is nothing mysterious about this causal link. If you want another consequence, fire up your will and make another choice.
Changing one's circumstances for the better generally requires not months of unceasing discipline, work and effort, but years or even decades of unceasing, dedicated toil, and daily sacrifices of present-day convenience for future benefits.
Improving one's circumstances (health, mindset, spiritual attainment, financial security, networks of colleagues, circles of friends, etc. etc. etc.) is the same process as getting good enough at something that people will pay you to perform that service or make that good for them.
Sometimes it requires moving to a new locale, changing careers, studying hard, and distinguishing between conveniences that are assumed to be essentials but that are actually luxuries that can be sacrificed for thrift in service of long-term goals. In all cases, it requires accepting risks: risks of failure, risk that the study might not pay off, risk that some accident could derail your plans, and so on.
Victimhood is not just a rejection of choice and consequence, but of risk--yet risk is ever-present and cannot be disappeared. Risk can only be managed and hedged, and only imperfectly at best.
Another big chunk of my life was spent working for low-paying non-profit groups advancing causes I believe in. The low pay was a consequence that went with the choice of advancing causes one is devoted to furthering.
When I was a builder in my youth, I gave jobs to vets and guys with criminal records-- marijuana dealing convictions, petty theft, that kind of thing. This choice opened the door to various risks and potential non-financial rewards. The reality is that "there is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity." Some opportunities you take, others you give.
Alas, earning a modest income doesn't preclude one from being tossed into the "heartless hypocrite" class if your ceaseless toil includes being extremely thrifty and making your own Thanksgiving meals with family, friends and neighbors. That you have have something others do not makes you a heartless hypocrite, regardless of your own frailties, disabilities, income or indeed, any other fact.
Here's your Excuse Book, America. There's something for almost everyone. Luckily, there is still an infinite abundance of excuses, guilt-tripping, victimhood, rage against those with "more" (never mind what they sacrificed to build it) and denial of choice, consequence, risk and fact.
Sadly, there are consequences to the pursuit of victimhood and the denial of will, choice, consequence, risk and fact, and they will be consequential indeed.
Yes, there are injustices and imbalances of power and wealth that we collectively need to remedy. But the way to do that is to embrace fact, responsibility, choice, consequence and thrift rather than deny those realities in favor of a false dichotomy of victim and heartless non-victim.
If those are the only "choices" left, America, count me out.

Drones To Deliver Amazon Goods To Doorsteps!

Discovery News ^ | 12-2-2013 | Nic Halverson 

Looking to take advantage of online sales, millions of people will be ordering online goods on this “Cyber Moday.” While those goods will likely arrive in a week or so, delivered by USPS, UPS or FedEx ground crew, delivery methods may soon enter into new air space, compliments of the ubiquitous drone.
Last night, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos dropped a bombshell on the Sunday night TV news show “60 Minutes” when he said that his company was developing so-called “copter” drones to deliver online goods, with a tentative launch date potentially arriving in the next four to five years.
Though further safety testing and FAA approval is needed, the “octocopter” drones — dubbed Amazon “Prime Air” — are slated to deliver packages of around five pounds. Bezos told “60 Minutes” correspondent Charlie Rose this weight comprises almost 86 percent of Amazon’s deliveries and that using the electronic drones could cut down on carbon emissions.
As Amazon continues to build their distribution centers across the the United States, Bezos also hinted that the drones could potentially make same-day delivery a reality. He even upped the ante, envisioning packages arriving 30 minutes after buyers click the “buy” button....
(Excerpt) Read more at news.discovery.com ...

A screenshot of the next Obamacare website fix unveiled

Screenshot is kind of misleading since it looks like this would be the whole shebang. 



LOGIC?

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Resent?

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Pre-existing Condition

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Two Types

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CHANGE

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Holidays

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POLLS

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ObamaLife

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Whose Fault?

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Protons, Neutrons, Electrons and MORONS!

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WHOPPERS!

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Sack Sebelius

Real Clear Politics ^ | December 1, 2013 | Jack Kelly 

One of the things for which I’m thankful this Thanksgiving is that I’m not Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
That Ms. Sebelius is still HHS secretary is remarkable. If they’d presided over a fiasco like the Obamacare rollout, the CEO of every corporation anywhere in the world would have been fired long ago.
Ms. Sebelius is fortunate she works in government, where there is no accountability.
And in the Obama administration, where there is no integrity.
[Snip]
Panicky Democrats warned the White House last week that if Healthcare.gov isn’t fixed by Nov. 30, as President Obama promised, they may jump ship.
[Snip]
Already Obamacare has caused breathtaking changes in public attitudes. In a Gallup poll in 2006, 69 percent of respondents said it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure Americans have health care coverage. Only 42 percent said that in a Gallup poll last week. In another poll last week, 58 percent said they trust Republicans more on health care.
Attitude adjustment has just begun:

  • The website “glitches” mean millions more will be without health insurance in January. Among them there will be too many tragic stories for the news media to ignore.
  • Most Americans don’t know yet that “you can keep your doctor” was another “incorrect promise.” They will soon. The “doc shock” has begun.
  • The tsunami of policy cancellations comes next year, when Obamacare forces small businesses to cancel their policies.
No wonder Democrats are terrified.
Ms. Sebelius and Mr. Obama are said to be close. But when the really big (stuff) hits the fan, the president will need a scapegoat, because nothing is ever his fault. Mene mene tekel upharsin.

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

ObamaCare's Next Legal Challenge (More bad news for Hussein's signature achievement)!

Wall Street Journal ^ | December 1, 2013 | Scott Pruitt 

As millions of Americans see their health-insurance premiums increase, have their coverage dropped as a result of the Affordable Care Act, and are unable to use the federal exchange, Oklahoma has sued the Obama administration. The Sooner State and several others are trying to stop the government from imposing tax penalties on certain states, businesses and individuals in defiance of the law. If these legal challenges are successful, the deficit spending associated with the new health-care law could be reduced by approximately $700 billion over the next decade.
While the president's health law is vast and extraordinarily complex, it is in one respect very simple. Subsidies are only to be made available, and tax penalties for not signing up for health insurance are only to be assessed, in states that create their own health-care exchange. The IRS, however, is attempting to enforce tax penalties in all states—including Oklahoma and the majority of the other states that have declined to create their own exchanges. Citizens and businesses in these states must use the federal exchange instead.
The distinction is critical, because under the terms of the law it is the availability of government insurance-premium subsidies that triggers the penalties against businesses if they fail to provide their employees with health insurance that the administration deems acceptable. This is a huge problem for the administration, which desperately needs to hand out tax credits and subsidies to the citizenry to quash the swelling backlash against the law.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...

Americans Trust President Obama?

Political Realities WordPress Blog ^ | 12/02/13 | LD Jackson 

Maybe David Plouffe was talking about a different group of Americans when he made this outrageous statement on ABC's This Week. His version of reality is far removed from the version I am seeing unfold as ObamaCare shows itself for what it really is.
Politico - Former Senior White House Adviser David Plouffe on Sunday said he believes President Barack Obama’s “numbers will recover” and that people “trust this president.”“It’s been a tough patch,” Plouffe said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And it’s not just healthcare, you know, the shutdown affected everybody, confidence in government. But let’s fast forward to the State of the Union and the months after that: Health care working better, a lot of people signing up, economy continuing to strengthen, hopefully no Washington shutdowns.”
“I think the president’s numbers will recover, I think people’s confidence will recover,” he added. “And we need to push Congress to do immigration, to do the smart things to help the economy.”
Obama's TrustLet's recap, shall we. President Obama said numerous times, you can keep your health care plan, if you like it. Those statements have now been shown to be lies. Once that happened, the President pivoted and said he was sorry you were losing your health care plan, but you misunderstood what he said. And besides, you should be thanking him for forcing you into purchasing a health care plan that is more expensive than your previous plan, but provides more coverage. You know, things like maternity coverage for men or couples who are past the age of child-bearing.
I know there are many liberals who still trust President Obama, but ask the Democrats in Congress how much they trust him. Many of them are running away from any possible "help" he may give them in their reelection campaigns. In other words, they know the American people are starting to see Obama for the liar he is and they want nothing to do with him. They have a right to shy away from President Obama, for if they embrace him, they are likely to lose their bids for reelection.
Personally, I have never trusted President Obama, so my feelings of distrust are nothing new. He has given me no reason to change my mind. Instead, his actions since taking office have cemented my distrust to the point of being completely solid. Anyone who says they trust him has to be either delusional or dense.
No, David Plouffe. Even if the ObamaCare website starts running flawlessly, the American people are not inclined to trust President Obama. His record of lies and deceit are finally catching up to the image he has portrayed to the American people to win two elections. The shine is gone and nothing remains but the truth of Barack Obama.

The Schizophrenia of Barack Obama

American Thinker ^ | 12/2/2013 | Steve McCann 

Barack Obama is a man with only one core conviction. He has, as the basic foundation of his otherwise disorganized and uncertain belief system, the irrefutable tenet that the United States, because of its European roots, has been the epitome of oppression and arrogance throughout its history. 
Therefore, he is able to rationalize the need to say or do anything as the transformation of American society and the end of the pre-eminent status of the United States are his sole objectives. He has, thus, adopted a pre-meditated schizophrenic personality wherein he comports himself as an apologist and appeaser on the international stage and a narcissistic autocrat at home.
The autocrats that ran roughshod throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century were determined to aggregate power in a central authority and to achieve an exalted position for their countries. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is determined to denigrate and diminish the stature of his nation as he otherwise emulates the tactics of these despots.
Beyond his one immutable and core tenet, Obama wavers between acceptance of hybrid fascism with its emphasis on crony capitalism and inflexible government dominance of the individual and the economy on the one hand, and on the other post-World War II European-style socialism rather than rigid socialist/Marxist ideology. This may be anathema to the hard core left from whence he came, but little do they understand that Barack Obama is driven by retribution not ideology.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...