Thursday, December 12, 2013

HHS extends more Obamacare deadlines

The Obama administration on Thursday announced it would take steps to push back an already-delayed deadline to help those struggling to obtain health coverage on Jan. 1 -- and extend a federal insurance program for those with preexisting conditions.
Amid lingering questions about the health law's insurance exchanges, the tweaks were yet another attempt by the administration to quell concerns that the botched rollout of would keep consumers from receiving coverage.
The administration had already delayed the deadline to receive insurance coverage on Jan. 1, moving the cut-off date from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23. On Thursday, they made yet another change. 

Science journal rejections suppress clean energy research

The recently published Volume 12 December 2013 Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science has an article detailing censorship by science journals.
How the Flawed Journal Review Process Impedes Paradigm Shifting Discoveries” by P.A. Mosier-Boss, L.P. Forsley, and F.E. Gordon describes the experience of these researchers as they submitted papers describing their low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR )experiments to mainstream science journals.
From the Abstract:
The purpose of scientific journals is to review papers for scientific validity and to disseminate new theoretical and experimental results. This requires that the editors and reviewers be impartial. Our attempt to publish novel experimental results in a renowned physics journal shows that in some cases editors and reviewers are not impartial; they are biased and closed-minded. Although our subject matter was technical, its rejection was not: it was emotionally charged. It was an agenda-laden rejection of legitimate experiments that were conducted in US DoD and DoE laboratories. This paper describes the flawed journal review process, detailing our own case and citing others. Such behavior on the part of editors and reviewers has a stifling effect on innovation and the diffusion of knowledge. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Get off that couch

THE tentative budget deal being worked out by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray will probably not include an extension of long-term unemployment benefits, reports Greg Sargent. And while much of the brewing tea-party anger over the deal is driven by opposition to government spending tout court, the specific opposition to long-term unemployment insurance has a theory behind it. That theory conforms to Albert Hirschman's classic "perversity, futility, jeopardy" model of conservative rhetoric: as Rand Paul (pictured) put it on Fox News on Sunday, conservatives think that offering unemployment insurance for longer raises the unemployment rate. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chinese Chicken Processors Are Cleared to Ship to U.S.

The Department of Agriculture on Friday approved four Chinese poultry processors to begin shipping a limited amount of meat to the United States, a move that is likely to add to the debate over food imports.
Initially, the companies will be allowed to export only cooked poultry products from birds raised in the United States and Canada. But critics predicted that the government would eventually expand the rules, so that chickens and turkeys bred in China could end up in the American market.
“This is the first step towards allowing China to export its own domestic chickens to the U.S.,” said Tony Corbo, the senior lobbyist for Food and Water Watch, an advocacy group that works to promote food safety.
The U.S.D.A.’s decision follows years of wrangling over the issue, and comes as Americans are increasingly focused on the origin of their food. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Vast Freshwater Reserves Found Beneath the Oceans

A new study, published December 5 in the international scientific journal Nature, reveals that an estimated half a million cubic kilometres of low-salinity water are buried beneath the seabed on continental shelves around the world.
The water, which could perhaps be used to eke out supplies to the world's burgeoning coastal cities, has been located off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.
"The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we've extracted from the Earth's sub-surface in the past century since 1900," says lead author Dr Vincent Post (pictured) of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and the School of the Environment at Flinders University. 

The FDA Stifles the Advance of Modern Molecular Medicine

We are at a turning point in medicine. Knowledge of the individual's genetic makeup will soon allow molecular medicine to reach deep inside each of us to cure most of the maladies that afflict us—and perhaps even slow the rate at which we age. First we will learn to understand each person's genome; then we will learn to craft treatments tailored to his or her genetic constitution.
But it may not be so easy—and not for purely scientific reasons. Consider 23andMe, a commercial enterprise launched in 2006 that was merely looking to inform Americans about their potential genetic vulnerability to certain diseases. Regulators from the Food and Drug Administration have dropped the hammer on the company, citing baseless fears that its customers will do something dangerously stupid in reaction to the information that the tests provide. The FDA's regulatory labyrinth is not only slow to digest the science behind the genetic testing involved in 23andMe. It also can't quite figure out what to do with the proliferation of molecular biomarkers that can predict treatment efficacy more quickly than the conventional clinical trials the agency relies upon. 

ATF uses rogue tactics in storefront stings across nation

Aaron Key wasn't sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck. Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.
But the guys running Squid's Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced him: It would be a perfect way to promote their store.
They would even pay him and a friend $150 apiece if they agreed to turn their bodies into walking billboards.
Key, who is mentally disabled, was swayed.
He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid's. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, "Squid," and the store clerks.
So they took the money and got the ink etched on their necks, tentacles creeping down to their collarbones.
It would be months before the young men learned the whole thing was a setup. The guys running Squid's were actually undercover ATF agents conducting a sting to get guns away from criminals and drugs off the street.

Obama's foreign policy failures

Critical analysis of Obama administration foreign policy is rendered more difficult by America's neo-isolationist mood. The bloody conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have left most Americans in no mood for further military engagements, particularly in regions long known for their tribal and sectarian strife.
The angst is spread far beyond the anti-war left, too. Middle America 's sons and daughters have witnessed enough carnage to make future adventurism a dubious proposition. Accordingly, leaders from both sides of the aisle understand that any proposed new mission must come with a compelling moral rationale, achievable "victory strategy" and viable "after care" plan.
America has now twice elected an anti-war activist uncomfortable with the sustained projection of U.S. military might. The record speaks for itself. The Obama "reset" began with a world apology tour directed to the Muslim world. Over time, it developed into incremental American retreat from the international stage. Indeed, it is now the French (of all people) engaged against Bashar Assad in Syria, the mullahs in Iran and a resurgent Vladimir Putin in Russia.

Seymour Hersh Alleges Obama Administration Lied on Syria Gas Attack

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has dropped yet another bombshell allegation: President Obama wasn't honest with the American people when he blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a sarin-gas attack in that killed hundreds of civilians.
In early September, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States had proof that the nerve-gas attack was made on Assad's orders. "We know the Assad regime was responsible," President Obama told the nation in an address days after this revelation, which he said pushed him over the "red line" in considering military intervention.
But in a long story published Sunday for the London Review of Books, Hersh — best known for his exposés on the cover-ups of the My Lai Massacre and of Abu Ghraib – said the administration "cherry-picked intelligence," citing conversations with intelligence and military officials.

The True Cost of a Higher Minimum Wage

In his speech at the Center for American Progress this week, President Obama devoted considerable time to an issue suddenly much in discussion: the minimum wage. This is not a new debate. In fact, it neatly echoes the last time Congress raised the minimum wage, in 2007, which echoed the debates before that. Few economic issues are such sweet catnip to ideological camps, and there is precisely zero consensus about whether these minimums have positive, negative or no effect.
Supporters say that a higher minimum wage will give people a better standard of living and boost consumption. Detractors argue that it will lead companies to hire fewer workers and kill job creation. One thing no one addresses, however, is that regardless of whether the government raises the minimum wage, our society can’t endlessly coast with a system that includes wage stagnation for the many and soaring prosperity for the few, nor can the government snap its legislative fingers and magically produce income. Someone will pay for these increases; nothing is free. 

The challenge is growth, not inequality

Can anyone think of a more boring, banal, irrelevant or stale speech than the one he gave this Thursday in D.C.? The speech was allegedly on the economy, but more likely it was to divert attention from the Obamacare catastrophe. Whatever the motive, his idea that the defining challenge of our time is to reduce income inequality is completely wrong. In truth, the defining challenge is to restore more rapid economic growth, create substantially more jobs and significantly reduce unemployment.
This is the worst recovery in the modern era going back to 1947. But Obama is always more interested in income redistribution than growth. He never speaks the language of growth, such as a rising tide would lift all boats. That’s the basic economic truth of the remarkable prosperity of the ’80s and ’90s, a period during which tax, regulatory, trade and monetary barriers were reduced, and the door opened to innovation, entrepreneurship, capital formation and job creation.
Obama comes from a long line of liberals whose guiding star is the equality of result, i.e., income leveling, rather than the equality of opportunity, which is the heart of free market capitalism. But in reverting back to his obsession with income inequality, he repeats his tired mantra of raising the minimum wage, ending so-called tax loopholes, launching shovel-ready infrastructure projects and ending budget caps and the spending-cut sequester. 

FBI impeding inquiry into IRS targeting of conservative groups

The House’s chief investigator says the FBI is stonewalling his inquiry into whether the agency and the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative group True the Vote for special scrutiny, and Rep. Darrell E. Issa is now threatening subpoenas to pry loose the information from FBI Director James B. Comey Jr.
Mr. Issa, California Republican, and Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, are leading the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s IRS inquiry. They also said the FBI is refusing to turn over any documents related to its own investigation into the IRS, which began in the days after an auditor’s report revealed the tax agency had improperly targeted tea party groups for special scrutiny.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Doctors Disappear

A curious feature of recent U.S. health care reform efforts — easily overlooked amidst the daily media grind of canceled plans, crashing websites and new restrictions — is the irrational belief that we can extend more health care to more Americans while rendering a career as a family physician increasingly unappealing.
Government has grown increasingly entangled in healthcare markets, complicating the working lives of physicians and, in many cases, threatening their bottom line. The result, according to a Deloitte Survey of U.S. Physicians: a growing number of doctors are convinced that “many physicians will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years.” 

The Filibuster and Post-Modern Democrats

If hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, then calling Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden hypocrites for abandoning their previous “principled” defense of Senate filibusters is an insult to hypocrites. Hypocrites, after all, recognize the power of principles and try to squirm out of the vice of violating them, but today’s post-modern Democrats feel no shame in making contradictory “principled” arguments because they no longer pay any tribute whatsoever to the virtue of neutral, non-partisan principle.
These Democrats are practicing the philosophy of post-modernism preached by liberal theorists for nearly a generation. For example, Stanley Fish, one of the most influential of these theorists, discovered that to defend racial preferences, it was necessary to reject the widely held principle that everyone should be treated by the state without regard to race, and that in order to do that, it was necessary to discredit the very idea of principle itself, which he proceeded to attempt: 

House Judiciary versus the imperial President

Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., says the president, “doesn’t have a debate in the Oval Office about what he wants to do,” adding, “he does what he wants to do, and then you no longer have representative democracy.”
George Washington University law professor and Obama supporter Jonathan Turley says he’s troubled by the expansion of executive power under both President George W. Bush and now President Obama.
“The problem of what the president is doing is that he is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he is becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid: that is, the concentration of power in any single branch,” he said. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Obamacare Insurance Workaround Reveals Law that Remains Unfinished, Unaccountable, and Unworkable

In October, when it became clear that Obamacare's online enrollment system wasn't functioning, President Obama gave a speech in which he told people who wanted to sign up to contact call centers instead, or fill out pen and paper applications.
This week, the administration announced that it would be employing another manual workaround, this time for critical insurer payment systems. In this case, it's not because the payment system is broken. Instead, it’s because the part of the system that is supposed to both calculate how much money the government owes insurers in premium subsidy and cost-sharing payments and make the appropriate payments simply hasn't been built yet. 

Cutting the U.S. Budget Would Help the Economy Grow

As the House and Senate budget conference meets to decide the fiscal course of the United States, lawmakers should focus on reducing federal spending. Federal spending is growing rapidly and will accelerate outside the 10-year budget window. Even though tax revenues are projected to grow faster than spending over the next decade, the nation faces chronic and increasing deficits. Research finds that high spending, high debt, and tax increases are harming economic growth and prosperity. Putting the budget on a path to balance with spending cuts would spur economic growth by reducing uncertainty and freeing up resources for investment and job creation. As the European crisis demonstrates, the option of making gradual changes will expire, and Americans and the U.S. economy will suffer a self-inflicted wound from unavoidable austerity measures if lawmakers continue to procrastinate the inevitable.
Austerity is the result of countries’ democratic decisions to wait until the last minute before acting, under the pressure of the markets, mainly by raising taxes rather than implementing long-waited reforms. 

Another Day, Another Obamacare Propaganda Session

On Tuesday afternoon, in yet another example of Barack Obama’s inability to start a presentation (much less a giant website) on time, the president defended the disastrous health care law that is colloquially named for him and asked for help to “spread the word” about the law’s purported benefits.
Obama began with the usual liberal talking points:
  • A broken health care system was creating “anxiety” (but liberals never admit that the system’s dysfunction is entirely the result of government regulation, and that Obamacare just exacerbates that problem. How much anxiety do people have about their auto insurance or renters insurance, i.e. products which exist in competitive markets because of the relative freedom from federal over-regulation?). 

Who Really Betrayed Detroit?

A federal judge’s ruling yesterday that Detroit worker pensions can be cut as part of the city’s bankruptcy case has angered city workers and shocked some of their supporters. Workers carrying signs outside the federal bankruptcy court yesterday blamed big banks for Detroit’s fiscal woes and demanded, “No cuts to our pensions.” They carried photos of Michigan governor Rick Snyder, painted to make him look like the devil. But if workers seek a culprit, they might look at the city’s pension-system trustees and the unions that were supposed to have influence over them. For years, the trustees granted annual bonuses to retirees and fattened worker-savings accounts with high guaranteed rates of return, siphoning crucial assets out of the retirement system, even as Detroit’s finances deteriorated. By one estimate, reported in the Detroit Free Press in September, the bonuses and guaranteed-interest programs cost the pension funds nearly $2 billion in contributions and foregone investment returns—money that might have made the pension system well-funded today and allowed retirement benefits to remain untouched. 

DHS stalls no-fly list trial by putting witness on no-fly list

Phil writes, "Edward Hasbrouck of the Identity Project is doing a fantastic job of reporting on-site from Ibrahim v. DHS, the first legal challenge of United States government's no-fly list that has ever seen a courtroom. On the first day of trial, the judge learned that the plaintiff's daughter, scheduled to testify, was delayed because she had been denied boarding of her flight because she was put a Department of Homeland Security no-fly list. DHS staff deny this. The government's lawyers told the judge that the daughter is lying. The airline provided documentation of the DHS no-fly order. The subject matter of this trial is intense---restriction of movement based on blacklists---but there's no sign of an end to the jaw-dropping entertainment." 

Frack-Water Recycling, an Emerging Market

Some 21 billion barrels of wastewater a year flows from oil and natural gas wells in the US, and while the market to recycle frack water has been slow to emerge, the potentially multi-billion-dollar arena is now starting to take off in earnest.
It takes between 70 billion to 140 billion gallons of water to frack 35,000 wells a year, the industry's current pace, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and while recycling frack water is still a relatively new idea, companies are coming under increasing pressure to do so, and Schlumberger predicts a strategic boom in the business. 

Sustaining Resilience at Sea

On the face of it, the value of a marine reserve — the equivalent of a national park or wildlife preserve on land — seems obvious. The oceans are in trouble, and setting aside regions of biodiversity, where fishing is strictly limited, if not prohibited, is one of the few effective means of protecting many species at once. But politically, there is nothing simple about creating marine reserves in international waters. Recently, China and Russia succeeded in blocking, yet again, the creation of a large marine reserve in Antarctica. 

The 2014 Shrimp Season In The Gulf Of Maine Has Been Canceled

They’re small and sweet, beloved by locals and tourists alike, and will soon be indefinitely unavailable. The Northern shrimp population in the Gulf of Maine has officially collapsed and a moratorium on shrimping is being recommended for the 2014 season. Restaurants in Maine are rushing to get their hands on whatever is left over from last year’s catch.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced the news Tuesday after voting unanimously to halt shrimping for the upcoming season.
The Gulf of Maine Northern shrimp fishery has never been big. But the season, usually between December and May, helps make ends meet for Maine fisherman during otherwise difficult winter months, before the lobsters and tourists arrive. In 2012, the value of the Gulf catch was about $5.1 million. Historically, as much as 25 million pounds of shrimp have been caught in the Gulf of Maine. The last time the fishery had to shut down, way back in 1977, just 1 million pounds of shrimp were landed. Regulators closed the fishery the following year, and since then, shrimp populations have rebounded to record highs. 

Union-backed fast food proposal could cost half a million jobs

Hourly wage increases advocated by labor groups could kill more than 450,000 jobs, according to a new report.
Union-backed labor groups, including Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15, are staging nationwide walk-outs and demonstrations at fast food chains across the country calling for starting wages of $15 per hour.
Their success could spell economic disaster for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s 2.5 million fast food workers, according to an analysis from the Employment Policies Institute. 

Executive order: Obama ups green-energy mandate on feds to 20 percent

By 2020, federal agencies will have to up their use of renewable energy sources significantly and replace 20 percent of electricity with greener options, President Obama said in a new executive order due for release on Thursday.
That demand will almost triple the federal government’s use of renewable energy, The Hill reported. The order is applicable to all federal agencies, including the civilian and military sectors.

The Economy Really is the Republicans’ Fault

In the “bad news is good news” economy that’s at the root of Obamanomics, the market has been rattled the last few days by signs that the economy is finally, again…did I say finally, again?... growing.
Well at least that’s the story THIS week.
I stopped counting the number of times that economy finally started growing.
Still, the market views robust numbers in the manufacturing sector released this week as cautionary.
Caution for the market that is, while welcome news to you and me. 

Obamacare Is Good Enough for Government Work

The phrase “good enough for government work” used to be a boast. Then it became an insult. With Obamacare, it is an ethic.
On Cyber Monday, the federal government was the only entity on the planet touting a commercial website with the promise that it would work most of the time, provided people visiting during peak hours were willing to take a number and come back later.
Although was still plagued by what used to be known as “glitches,” it was working better. In fact, it appears to be well on the way to being fixed—except for the part where people pay for and actually get insurance. That is called the “backend,” or the payment system without which any other business would go bust. To be charitable, it is still a work in progress.

Global-warming ‘proof’ is evaporating

The 2013 hurricane season just ended as one of the five quietest years since 1960. But don’t expect anyone who pointed to last year’s hurricanes as “proof” of the need to act against global warming to apologize; the warmists don’t work that way.
Warmist claims of a severe increase in hurricane activity go back to 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. The cover of Al Gore’s 2009 book, “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis,” even features a satellite image of the globe with four major hurricanes superimposed.
Yet the evidence to the contrary was there all along. Back in 2005 I and others reviewed the entire hurricane record, which goes back over a century, and found no increase of any kind. Yes, we sometimes get bad storms — but no more frequently now than in the past. The advocates simply ignored that evidence — then repeated their false claims after Hurricane Sandy last year. 

Millennials Abandon Obama and Obamacare

Young Americans are turning against Barack Obama and Obamacare, according to a new survey of millennials, people between the ages of 18 and 29 who are vital to the fortunes of the president and his signature health care law.
The most startling finding of Harvard University's Institute of Politics: A majority of Americans under age 25--the youngest millennials--would favor throwing Obama out of office.
The survey, part of a unique 13-year study of the attitudes of young adults, finds that America's rising generation is worried about its future, disillusioned with the U.S. political system, strongly opposed to the government's domestic surveillance apparatus, and drifting away from both major parties. "Young Americans hold the president, Congress and the federal government in less esteem almost by the day, and the level of engagement they are having in politics are also on the decline," reads the IOP's analysis of its poll. "Millennials are losing touch with government and its programs because they believe government is losing touch with them." 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Government Tries to Bury Operation Fast and Furious For Good

It’s been three years since the Operation Fast and Furious scandal first broke in 2010, and to this day, little is known about what actually took place. Not surprisingly, the government has kept its lips tightly sealed. And now it’s doing its best to silence others, as well.
You see, there’s one man – John Dodson – who’s willing to set the facts straight…but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is doing everything it can to keep Dodson from speaking out.
Dodson is a former ATF agent, and he was also the first person to blow the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious. In fact, Dodson was assigned to the Operation and had attempted to stop it by confronting his superiors. When that didn’t work, he’d begun to publicly criticize Fast and Furious. He was soon transferred to a different assignment.

Obama is worst since Nixon in going after leaks

 Despite a promise of transparency, President Barack Obama has run a secretive government that’s chilling the flow of information to reporters while it tries to channel its version of news through its own government media, according to a new report from a journalists’ group.
The report says the Obama administration has curbed the disclosure of government information, limited the use of the Freedom of Information Act, launched a program of internal surveillance to stop people from talking to reporters and conducted an unprecedented number of investigations of journalists.
The search for leaks, the report’s author said, is the most aggressive since President Richard Nixon.
“In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press,” says the report by Leonard Downie Jr. for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Read more here:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Who is Behind the Movement to Legitimize Pedophilia?

This is just another in a long line of progressive campaigns.  They have apparently won their gay rights campaign.  Normalizing pedophilia is the next in their sexual revolution undertakings unless polygamy beats it to the punch.  Does anyone ever wonder why societal norms that long sustained morality, order, respect for others, respect for religious beliefs, etc. have been eroding?  Open your minds to the progressive movement.  Do your own investigation and while doing so set aside the good things you will find and focus on the multitude of programs and policies they have underwritten that have slowly but surely undermined the fabric of a moral and orderly society.    

George Burns

Reality of Obamacare Hits Home

The consequences of Obamacare continue to emerge and the picture does not look good for those who are paying taxes and suffering through higher premiums all the while the government uses taxes collected to provide Obamacare subsidies for those who qualify.  Good deal for some lower income people but a really bad deal for the middle class Obama claims he wants to help with his social/economic policies.  Problem is that at every turn he punches the middle class in the gut.  The consequences of his actions include higher premiums for health care (for middle class), higher taxes to cover for healthcare premium subsidies for others, higher costs for medical care, increase in number of patients per doctor, reduction in number of doctors willing to participate in medicare and medicaid programs due to inadequate government payments to doctors, a heavy increase in number of part-time jobs imposed by Obamacare, businesses dropping healthcare coverage, higher prices for medical devices, medical device manufacturers moving off shore due to increased cost of doing business.  And those are just some of the Obamacare consequences.  Don't get me started on his economic policies and the damage they have done and are continuing to do so.  Just for kicks here is a listing of some of the Obamacare consequences that have both jobs and economic consequences.!   And check out what has happened at United Health as a consequence of Obamacare.  They try to put a good spin on it but it is just another example of the total chaos Obamacare has wraught. 

George Burns

Friday, October 11, 2013

Iranian Aftershocks: Washington And Tehran Face An Uncertain Diplomatic Landscape

Nearly two weeks have passed since President Barack Obama made history with a phone call to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, during the final moments of Rouhani's inaugural visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly meetings. And less than a week remains before diplomats from the two adversaries sit down in Geneva, along with European, Russian and Chinese representatives for the latest round of a long-running negotiation on Iran's nuclear program — talks that have suddenly assumed new meaning and newly inflated expectations thanks to the bilateral breakthrough. This interlude offers an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved and what lies ahead for diplomacy aimed at resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis.
Since news of the presidential phone call went public — initially via a Twitter account associated with Rouhani, momentarily preempting President Obama's hastily-organized press conference — the shock of the unprecedented direct contact between Iranian and American leaders has faded. So has the glow of the calculated charm offensive that Rouhani and his colleagues waged during their week in New York. Both leaderships have seen some public pushback from their domestic political rivals, who distrust the sudden embrace of diplomacy, and are gearing up for the talks as the first real substantive test of the gamble they took in breaking one of the central taboos of Iran's post-revolutionary order. 

Obama’s Confession of Indifference

Last week I wrote a column accusing the president of having a vindictive streak — of deliberately trying to make the lives of average Americans worse just so he could score ideological and political points.
We already knew from how he handled the budget sequester that Obama liked this approach. He ordered Cabinet secretaries not to do their jobs — i.e., to manage as best they could under spending restraints — but instead to find ways to make the cuts needlessly painful for innocents caught in the Beltway crossfire. 


Tyranny comes in many forms but one sure sign of tyranny is when those elected to govern pass laws that impose tax burdens and limit freedom for all, except themselves. By this measure, Obamacare is an excellent example of tyranny.
The Administration is currently spending $684 million of our tax dollars on a massive, daily ad campaign to convince uninsured Americans to call Obamacare exchanges and buy health insurance at a cost of between about $5,000 per person and $11,000 per family per year.
While $684 million is being spent on this feverish, last minute attempt to convince the unwilling to fork over what is a veritable fortune for many in this troubled economy, the President is working in secret with House Speaker David Bohner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to ensure that members of Congress and their aides do not have to pay for their Obamacare insurance coverage.

National Debt Set to Double Before Obama Leaves Office

The national debt is set to double by the time President Barack Obama leaves office, if it continues to increase at the current rate.

In January 2009, when Obama began his first term, the federal debt was $10.6 trillion. As of this week it has increased 57 percent to $16.7 trillion, The Washington Times reported.

As Congress is faced with raising the debt ceiling by Oct. 17 or letting the government default on its bills, Obama has argued that doing so "won't add a dime" the federal debt.

"It does not increase our debt," Obama said. "It does not grow our deficits. All it does is allow the Treasury Department to pay for what Congress has already spent."

These claims by the president gloss over the growing total debt, according to Alex Brill, a budget specialist of the American Enterprise Institute.

The way out

For all the hyped indignation over GOP “anarchism,” there has been remarkable media reticence about the president’s intransigence. He has refused to negotiate anything unless the Republicans fully fund the government and raise the debt ceiling — unconditionally.
For all his protestations about protecting the full faith and credit of the United States — jittery markets are showing that his brinkmanship could have precisely the opposite effect — the president’s real intent is to score a humiliating victory over the GOP.
So far, so good. Republicans have fallen to 28 percent approval, the lowest level ever for either party in 21 years of polling and a staggering 10-point drop in the last month. Democrats have also declined, but only four points and, in the end, partisan politics is a zero-sum game. If you lose less than the other guy, you win — because every seat in Congress will be allocated to one party or the other, no matter how disgusted the country is with both. 

Who owns government? The government or the people?

The link below is a thoughtful and provocative piece.  I agree with most of what is covered but not everything.  Specifically, I disagree with the author's characterization that it is the democrats that are the problem - their refusal to negotiate on a goodly number of republican proposals to resolve the government shut down, deal with the federal debt and Obamacare.  It is instead the progressive elements within both the Democratic and Republican parties that are the problem.  Many democrats are wary of the progressive influences that dominate their party.  But it is a fact that the democratic party is the home of far more progressives than the republicans so that is where the intransigence lies.  Hence, the theme of the linked article.  Because the bulk of leadership within the democratic party happens to be progressives getting past the current issue of restarting government, dealing with the debt limit and on to Obamacare will be most difficult.  As the article notes the democrats (progressives) think they own the government.  Democrats and even some republicans lambaste the Tea Party's influence on the repulican party.  The fact is that the Tea Party believes that the federal debt and government spending are out of control and that Obamacare will only exacerbate those problems.  So the progressive left has its world view (big government is good, spending is not out of control, debt is good, etc.) and the Tea Party right believes the opposite.  The progressive left frequently calls Tea Party adherents tyrants, terrorists, etc..  That is an affront to ligitimately held beliefs.  What if they called the progressive left such names?  Who would be more correct? 

Saying the above things about progressives does not mean that all progressive thoughts and actions are unworthy.  Not so.  The movement has done good things over time.  The problem is that progressives seek to place all faith and power in government.  In effect they believe the government is supreme and has the right to dictate policy to its citizens.  A consequence of such thinking is to drain private citizen resources in pursuit of their Utopian ideas.  And because their thinking, especially progressive dominated government, they assume private citizens and organizations on their own are unable to "innovate" and "improve" the lives of their fellow citizens.  Only progressive minded government can do that.  Not only does past history demonstrate that to be a falsehood but also validates such thinking as being socialistic in nature.  To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher:  Socialism does not work for the long term because socialist governments eventually run out of other people's money.  Again history validates that fact.  Nonetheless that is what is happening to us.  Progressive driven programs have caused our government to grow so big and unwieldy that it can neither efficiently and effectively manage the programs it implements.  Worse yet the money is drying up. 

Progressives have demonstrated that they cannot effectively and efficiently manage the tax resources forcefully taken from us.  Hence their penchant for borrowing seemingly without regard for eventual consequences.  As budget and debt limit battles show they apparently cannot fathom our objections to an ever increasing tax load and unbounded national debt neither of which we asked for, but no thanks to them we are responsible for.

George Burns

About Our National Debt

If you want to truly understand the ins and outs of our national debt, this article by Murray Rothbard will go a long way towards that goal.  Here are two quotes I lifted from the article to provide a taste of what you will find.  It is an obvious reprint from several years ago but the examples and explanations are just as relevant today as when written, maybe even more so given current fiscal conditions

"If I borrow money from a mortgage bank, I have made a contract to transfer my money to a creditor at a future date; in a deep sense, he is the true owner
of the money at that point, and if I don’t pay I am robbing him of his just property.  But when government borrows money, it does not pledge its own money; its own resources are not liable. Government commits not its own life, fortune, and sacred honor to repay the debt, but ours. This is a horse, and a transaction, of a very different color."


"Deficits and a mounting debt, therefore, are a growing and intolerable burden on the society and economy, both because they raise the tax burden and increasingly drain resources from the productive to the parasitic, counterproductive, 'public' sector.  Moreover, whenever deficits are financed by expanding bank credit
– in other words, by creating new money – matters become still worse, since credit inflation creates permanent and rising price inflation as well as waves of boom-bust 'business cycles.'”

George Burns

Those Who Sign Up For Obamacare Are In For Some Surprises

This link explains how the Obamacare computer network (assuming it ever gets up and running) will take your most personal information and link it to all manner of other government systems.  It, in effect, is another link in the vast government domestic spying apparatus.  Even if only half of the stuff covered is true it is a violation of the public trust.  My sense, from all else I have seen and heard, is it is mostly if not completely true.  It is vital that you take this information and spread the word so it gets maximum coverage.  This outrage must be stopped.    

George Burns

Patriot Act author prepares bill to put NSA bulk collection 'out of business'

The conservative Republican who co-authored America's Patriot Act is preparing to unveil bipartisan legislation that would dramatically curtail the domestic surveillance powers it gives to intelligence agencies.
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who worked with president George W Bush to give more power to US intelligence agencies after the September 11 terrorist attacks, said the intelligence community had misused those powers by collecting telephone records on all Americans, and claimed it was time "to put their metadata program out of business".
His imminent bill in the House of Representatives is expected to be matched by a similar proposal from Senate judiciary committee chair Patrick Leahy, a Democrat. It pulls together existing congressional efforts to reform the National Security Agency in the wake of disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden. 

Student Ordered to Stop Handing Out Constitutions on Constitution Day Files Suit

A student who was ordered by college administrators to stop handing out copies of the Constitution on campus—on Constitution Day—filed suit today in federal court. Modesto Junior College (MJC) student and Army veteran Robert Van Tuinen is suing the Yosemite Community College District and MJC administrators for violating his First Amendment rights. Van Tuinen is represented by the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine and is assisted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). 
“Last month, Robert Van Tuinen caught on camera administrators who were so unfamiliar with the basic principles of free speech that they prevented him from passing out the Constitution to his fellow students on Constitution Day,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Even in the face of national shock and outrage, the college has failed to reform its absurd ‘free speech zone.’ Now it will have to defend that policy in federal court.”

Proponents of Raising the Debt Ceiling Want To Bankrupt Your Kids

Whether it's long-term or short-term, proposals to hike the debt ceiling are schemes for allowing the federal government to borrow more money so it can continue to spend beyond its means. Politicians want to borrow more money because they have spending plans that consistently exceed the amount of money that the federal government takes in as taxes, and that are projected to continue to outpace revenues into the foreseeable future. Raising the debt ceiling means snowballing debt rolling downhill right toward our children and their children.
In a Cato Institute paper published in February of this year, Jagadeesh Gokhale of the Social Security Advisory Board warns: 

The Media No Longer Cares For Obamacare

Now The Media no longer care for Obamacare, either.
Wolf Blitzer of CNN announced that perhaps President Obama should listen to his Republicans (and a growing number of Democratic) critics and delay Obamacare’s individual mandate for one year.
Only a handful compared the hundreds of millions of Americans have been able to register. The local paper based in the South Bay, Los Angeles, The Daily Breeze, suggested that Obamacare enrollment in California was “phenomenal”, yet only about tens of thousands in the entire state had managed to sign on. There are thirty-eight million people in California, and there are Californians who have shared with friends and neighbors, as well as publishing in the same paper, that the Medicare exchanges will end up offering them health coverage more expensive with higher premiums and less coverage. 

We know who to blame for this shutdown

Sticks and stones won’t break your bones, but names are going to hurt you — unless you agree to change one in particular right this second, or at least within five years, whichever comes first. So bullies a none-too-bright Washington Poster named Mike Wise. Get used to the name. He’s got “Jay Carney’s replacement” written all over him.
So he’s a sportswriter. So much the better. He knows one thing: trashtalking. Perhaps he’s taken too many typewriters to the head. Or maybe he’s simply sucker-punched himself a little too often. Whatever the case, he is one concussed fellow. And so he argues like a vintage Obamaite, albeit without the soft nuance of King Obama himself when he purred about the Dan Snyder team’s radioactive name, “I’d think about changing it.” Hint, hint, nudge, nudge — hello, IRS! There is no truth beyond what we insist on, in other words.
So there will be no further defending the ’Skins’ name, Wise guy wrote. No negotiating ever again. “It is not a matter of ‘if” anymore, but ‘when.’” “Just when is the tipping point? The answer… is now.” “The debate… is over.” “It’s over.” And who are lowly we to disagree, especially now that the (proverbial) fat lady has sung? 

Privatize the National Park Service

The behavior of the National Park Service during President Obama’s shutdown campaign has been shocking. As has been widely reported, Park Service employees have been told to make life as uncomfortable as possible for people, and have flourished in that endeavor. They have acted crudely and unprofessionally as a partisan and ideological arm of the White House and its propaganda campaign.
If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about (that would exclude American Spectator readers), then you listen only to NPR, watch only MSNBC, and read only the New York Times. Just click Google and start searching. There are frightening first-person accounts everywhere. Among the worst examples was a case innocently covered by a small Massachusetts newspaper that reported on a group of tourists traveling to Yellowstone National Park. The tourists, by no means a bunch of Tea Partiers, described the Park Service as “Gestapo”-like in its tactics. 

Oh, and By the Way...We're Broke

Soon, President Obama and Congress will agree to terms on raising the statutory debt limit, or the "debt ceiling."  What will not be mentioned in the negotiations, however, is that the United States of America is bankrupt.

In a 2011 discussion about how spending cuts might impact jobs in the federal government, House Speaker John Boehner said, "If some of those jobs are to be lost in this, so be it.  We're broke."  Two years and one major credit downgrade later, the only thing that has changed is how much more broke we are.

As a nation, we're broke.  Flat busted.  Tapped out.  The coffers are empty.  We have no money.  This chart shows America's debt trajectory relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In May 2012, the national debt started growing faster than GDP, which means we are borrowing at a faster rate than we produce.  In The Great Reckoning, James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg warned that "debt cannot go on compounding faster than output forever."  For America, the day of reckoning has come.  

Harry Reid Wants Americans To Suffer From Shutdown

Word came this week that the National Institutes of Health has suspended therapy-dog visits to sick children at its clinical center because of a 25% reduction in staff, even though volunteers run the program.
Seems the veterinarians who evaluate the dogs have been furloughed. So how about the frequently used dogs that have already been evaluated? No deal.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to fund NIH clinical trials for children with cancer. When asked why, if it could mean saving a single child, Reid replied: "Why would we do that?"
These are just kids, after all. Who cares if they're in pain or die because of his intransigence and lack of compassion?

Democrats to America: We own the government!

In the current fight over the government shutdown, Republicans are simply representing the views of the American people.
Americans didn’t ask for Obamacare, they don’t want it, but now their insurance premiums are going through the roof, their doctors aren’t accepting it, and their employers are moving them into part-time work — or firing them — to avoid the law’s mandates.
Contrary to Obama’s promises, it turns out: You can’t keep your doctor, you can’t keep your insurance — you can’t even keep your job. In other words, it’s a typical government program, but this one wrecks your health care.
Also, the president did raise taxes on the middle class in defiance of his well-worn campaign promise not to. Indeed, Obamacare is the largest tax hike in U.S. history. 

Climate change is dominated by the water cycle, not carbon dioxide

Climate scientists are obsessed with carbon dioxide. The newly released Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that “radiative forcing” from human-emitted CO2 is the leading driver of climate change. Carbon dioxide is blamed for everything from causing more droughts, floods, and hurricanes, to endangering polar bears and acidifying the oceans. But Earth’s climate is dominated by water, not carbon dioxide.
Earth’s water cycle encompasses the salt water of the oceans, the fresh water of rivers and lakes, and frozen icecaps and glaciers. It includes water flows within and between the oceans, atmosphere, and land, in the form of evaporation, precipitation, storms and weather. The water cycle contains enormous energy flows that shape Earth’s climate, temperature trends, and surface features. Water effects are orders of magnitude larger than the feared effects of carbon dioxide. 

IRS, White House officials that shared confidential taxpayer info had 155 White House meetings

Embattled IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram made 155 visits to the White House to meet with a top Obama White House official with whom she exchanged confidential taxpayer information over email.
Of Ingram’s 165 White House meetings with White House staff, a staggering 155 of them were hosted by deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew, according to a June Watchdog.Org analysis of White House visitor records.
Ingram exchanged confidential taxpayer information with Lambrew and White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Read more:

Jon Stewart accuses Kathleen Sebelius of lying to him about Obamacare

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius likely thought her interview with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” Monday night would be an easy setting to pitch the Obamacare exchanges to young people. Instead, she ended up getting accused of being a liar by the popular comedy host.
During his interview with Sebelius, Stewart repeatedly sought an answer from the secretary on why big businesses got a delay in their Obamacare mandate to provide affordable health insurance to their employees, while individuals did not get a delay in their Obamacare mandate making them purchase health care or face a penalty.
In a rare monologue at the end of the show, Stewart said he remained confused and that he suspected that the secretary may have been lying to him.

Obamacare Website Cost $634 Million, Faces Months of Glitches, the federal Obamacare website, cost taxpayers more than $630 million, nearly seven times its original estimate of $93 million, new figures reveal.

Yet it will likely take months to get it running properly following its disastrous rollout last week, when those hoping to enroll instead experienced an online nightmare, with websites crashing, refusing to load, and failing to offer comprehensive choices.

"It’s like trying to repair a car while someone is driving it," George Edwards, a computer scientist and professor at the University of Southern California, told Fox News.

The administration has tried to explain away the problems as a result of heavy traffic.

"Take away the volume and it works," President Barack Obama's chief technology adviser, Todd Park, told USA Today.

Concern about runaway spending is ‘anarchy’

A national network reporter, during an interview about about the government shutdown, actually told me: “Democrats believe government should do some things. Republicans don’t believe government should be doing anything.” Where had we heard that characterization of the GOP?
“‘Anarchist’? Why in the world wouldn’t I use the term anarchy?” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a CNN interview. “That’s what they are. They’re anarchists. They don’t believe in government — at any level. … They’re anarchists, just like they were at the beginning of the 20th century. … They’re not blowing up buildings and they’re not killing people. But they’re throwing monkey wrenches in the wheels of government.” That a reporter parroted the line almost verbatim explains why Obama and the Democrats believe they will win the PR battle over which party voters will blame for this partial government shutdown.
Well, forgive tea party Republicans, elected to stop Obamacare, for actually going to Washington D.C. to try to stop Obamacare. Politicians literally attempting to fulfill campaign promises. Imagine. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Beyond Obamacare glitches, some consumers face dramatically higher rates

Problems with the main "Obamacare" website,, have dominated headlines since the site opened for business on Oct. 1.
But another problem is surfacing: Some consumers who have been buying their own insurance are getting cancellation notices – and offers for insurance at dramatically higher rates.
There are multiple reasons this is happening. First, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) sets minimum standards for benefits, including mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, maternity care, prescription drugs, and rehabilitative care, which were not included in many of the old plans. Also, insurance companies are now required to take all comers, regardless of their health status, and so rates are rising to cover their costs as well.

Government Shutdown: Don’t Believe the Hype

Government wants you to play a role in the "shutdown" of the federal government. Your role is to panic.
Republicans and Democrats both assume that shutting some government is a terrible thing. The press concurs. "Shutdown threatens fragile economy," warns Politico. "Federal workers turn to prayer," laments The Washington Post.
If the public starts noticing that life goes on as usual without all 3.4 million federal workers, we might get dangerous ideas, like doing without so much government. Politicians don't want that.
They'd rather have us worry about how America will cope.
President Obama gave a speech where he actually said we need to keep government open for the sake of people like the person working for the Department of Agriculture "out there helping some farmers make sure that they're making some modest profit," and the Department of Housing and Urban Development "helping somebody buy a house for the first time."

Illegal immigrants allowed to practice law in California

Illegal immigrants can be licensed to practice law in California under one of eight bills expanding immigrant rights that were signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday.
The California Supreme Court, which finalizes requests of applicants to be licensed as a lawyer in California, is now authorized to approve qualified applicants regardless of their immigration status.
Other new laws prohibit law enforcement officials from detaining immigrants based on federal government instructions except in cases of serious crimes or convictions, and make it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers on the basis of their citizenship.
"While Washington waffles on immigration, California's forging ahead," Brown said in a statement. "I'm not waiting."

What happens when only 16% of flu patients have the flu?

Here is how serious propaganda works: Over a a long period of time, you build up a gigantic lie. You keep reinforcing it.
You have major money behind you, as well as institutions of government, and corporations. You forge that lie, and you keep repeating it over and over.
Finally, and this is the payoff, you reach a point where a refutation of the lie would seem, to most people, like a piece of incomprehensible insanity, like gibberish.
Therefore, the refutation of the lie would tend to be invisible. It would sink like a small stone, leaving no trace.
After writing about fake vaccine science since 1988, I thought I’d seen it all: 

Why Growth Is Getting Harder

For over a century, the trend line for the long-term growth of the U.S. economy has held remarkably steady. Notwithstanding huge changes over time in economic, social, and political conditions, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has fluctuated fairly closely around an average annual rate of approximately 2 percent. Looking ahead, however, there are strong reasons for doubting that this historic norm can be maintained.
Consider the four constituent elements of economic growth tracked by conventional growth accounting: (1) growth in labor participation, or annual hours worked per capita; (2) growth in labor quality, or the skill level of the workforce; (3) growth in capital deepening, or the amount of physical capital invested per worker; and (4) growth in so-called total factor productivity, or output per unit of quality-adjusted labor and capital. Over the course of the 20th century, these various components fluctuated in their contributions to overall growth. The fluctuations, however, tended to offset each other, so that weakness in one element was compensated for by strength in another. In the 21st century, this pattern of offsetting fluctuations has come to a halt as all growth components have fallen off simultaneously. 

Electronic Privacy Defenders Lose Challenge to Government Secrecy

The director of national intelligence properly withheld documents related to how his office uses databases to fight terrorism, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
     The nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center had filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence regarding how the National Counterterrorism Center gets information from other federal agencies.
     Though the agency released eight partial documents, it withheld an additional 21, citing statutory exemptions. EPIC then filed suit in Washington, D.C.
     U.S. District Judge James Boasberg granted the agency summary judgment Wednesday.