An Obamacare Replacement in the Senate – National Review

The senators’ proposal in some respects builds on ideas that have been in various Republican proposals before (including the American Health Care Reform Act, proposed last year and co-sponsored by a majority of House Republicans), but it goes further and probably amounts to the most promising conservative health reform we have yet seen from Republican politicians. Its basic structure involves a version of the combination of reforms that James Capretta (for instance in this National Affairs essay with Robert Moffit) has been laying out in some detail in recent years, and which other conservatives (including Ramesh Ponnuru and myself) have pointed to: It would repeal Obamacare and instead address the key particular deficiencies of our health-care system in a way that enables more Americans to be genuine consumers and that employs actual competition among insurers and providers (giving them real freedom to shape products and business models) to restrain costs while expanding coverage. 

The proposal would extend a tax credit for the purchase of health insurance to all Americans below 300 percent of the poverty level who do not have health coverage from a large employer. That credit (paid for largely by capping the tax exclusion for employer-provided coverage), would provide all of these Americans with the same benefit now extended only to people with employer-based coverage. The credit would be age- and income-based, and intended to enable the people receiving it to afford at least catastrophic coverage, and to far more easily purchase more comprehensive coverage if they choose to. It is designed in a way that would extend the benefit now only available in the employer system without destabilizing the employer system (as some proposals to fully replace the employer exclusion would do) — which strikes me as both substantively and politically wise. 

States would also be allowed, if they chose, to establish an opt-out auto-enrollment process for recipients of the credit. They could, for instance, automatically enroll any person who hasn’t already purchased insurance in a plan (chosen at random from such plans offered by insurers in the state) with a premium exactly equal to his tax credit, with insurers adjusting that person’s deductibles and co-payments accordingly. States would have a strong incentive to do this, since it would dramatically reduce the number of uninsured people in the state at no cost to the state or those individuals, and the cost to the federal taxpayer would only be the cost of the tax credit.

Wow.. what a novel idea to actually incentivize individuals to get health insurance instead of by decree.

Edward Snowden tells German TV that NSA is involved in industrial espionage – UK Guardian

The National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will take intelligence regardless of its value to national security, the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has told a German television network. 

In a lengthy interview broadcast on the public broadcaster ARD TV on Sunday,  Snowden said the NSA did not limit its espionage to issues of national security and cited the German engineering firm Siemens as one target. 

“If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to US national interests – even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security – then they’ll take that information nevertheless,” Snowden said in the interview conducted in Russia, where Snowden has claimed asylum.

 

I posted the same some time back around a year or so ago.  I was told that by and large, the phone calls/emails of regular citizens are collected because they can but that it’s rarely used unless another agency needs the info to win a criminal trial (with an expectation that the favor will be returned).

Otherwise, I was told that the majority of the non-security data is used for enriching the pockets of those within the NSA who are privy to the information.  “Insider Trading” doesn’t come close to describing the power that they have to make money within the markets.

Jay Carney: Obamacare Worth It, Even if Democrats Lose the Senate – But They Won’t – ABC News

“This is not about politics. So the answer is, it is absolutely worth
it, no matter what happens politically,” Carney said when asked about
the possibility of losing the Senate during an interview at the White
House for “This Week.”

LOL  “This is not about politics.”  Years ago my friend told me verbatim “Everything is about politics with these people.  Everything.”

 Aside from that fib, this is actually Jay Carney speaking quite honestly for the Obama Investors.  To these people, losing the Senate is small potatoes.  They got what they wanted.  Your very life is now at the mercy of the Federal Government.  Couple that with the breathtaking abuse and expansion of Executive powers by this President that will haunt this country for years to come, and you have a spectacular victory for the Socialist-Progressive machine.  They won, folks.  Big time.

Ultimately it falls down on all of us to very loudly and very angrily get our country and our liberty back.

Lost in the Details…

This story has been completely underreported by the media.  Lost in the WSJ article about our Imperial President’s decision to advance his agenda through un-constitutional executive orders was this little bit:

In recent weeks, senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has reached out to chief executives seeking commitments that they won’t discriminate against the long-term unemployed in hiring practices. The White House has scheduled an event highlighting the initiative for Friday.  Bank of America Corp, Siemens AG,  Dow Chemical Co. and Deloitte LLP are expected to join Xerox, AT&T, Lockheed Martin and P&G, among others, in signing the pledge, which states they “are committed to inclusive hiring practices and pledge to remove barriers” to the employment of long-term jobless, according to a draft of the agreement.

So the de facto President is calling corporations and saying what?  Start hiring people or the Attorney General’s office might come calling?  Perhaps the IRS might feel it needs to perform a full commercial audit of your business?  Best you be adding workers to your ranks whether you need them or not.

On the bright side, this is the most this Administration has done to create jobs in the private sector.

American Fascism – Lew Rockwell

This indifference, I suggest, derives from the widespread public acceptance of the myth of the state that Americans are taught from the moment they step into a government classroom. The myth is this: the state is a public-service institution established to provide you with security, both personal and economic. And after years of indoctrination into this myth, it is little wonder that so many Americans are prepared to give the state the benefit of the doubt, and to look upon dissidents as incorrigible troublemakers. The police and the military, the most celebrated public faces of the state, are to be questioned least of all.

All social theory can be reduced to two categories: those that conceive of society as the result of peace, and those for which the indispensable ingredient is violence. This is the fundamental distinction between liberalism and fascism, a point I discuss further in a book I released earlier this year called Fascism vs. Capitalism.

There is some confusion surrounding terms here. When Ludwig von Mises published his book Liberalism in English translation, he changed the title to The Free and Prosperous Commonwealth. He did so because by the latter half of the twentieth century, the word “liberal” no longer carried the meaning it once had. It had come to mean centralization, the welfare state, and a substantial government presence in economic and social life.

The liberalism I have in mind, of course, is not the modern liberalism of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but the classical liberalism of Thomas Jefferson and Frederic Bastiat. Classical liberalism, by contrast, believed in free markets, free trade, toleration, and civil liberties.

Liberal icon urges Obama impeachment – WND

Hentoff sees the biggest problem as Obama’s penchant to rule by executive order when he can’t convince Congress to do things his way.

The issue jumped back into the headlines last week when, just before his first Cabinet meeting of 2014, Obama said, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone … and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions.”

“Apparently he doesn’t give one damn about the separation of powers,” Hentoff told WND. “Never before in our history has a president done these things.”

And just to make sure everyone knew how extremely serious he regarded the situation, the journalist added, “This is the worst state, I think, the country has ever been in.”

“Worst” is a word that’s been used a lot for the past 13 years.  It’s not hyperbole, however.

Assuming you’ve been reading my blog for while and making the dangerous assumption that you believe me when I say our President is a real, non-fictional Manchurian candidate, none of this is surprising.  Consequently, it’s extremely important to recognize that Congress (including the GOP ruled House) has been nearly silent as the President has illegally marginalized them.  In some cases, they have enthusiastically steadied the knife as they were neutered.

Kind of makes you wonder if their opposition to this President’s agenda is genuine.

 

We’re All Suspects In Barack Obama’s America – Huffington Post

Barack Obama’s speech Friday on surveillance was his worst performance, not as a matter of theatrical skill, though he clearly did not embrace his lines, but in its stark betrayal of his oft proclaimed respect for constitutional safeguards and civil liberty. 

His unbridled defense of the surveillance state opened the door to the new McCarthyism of Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein, the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees, who on Sunday talk shows were branding Edward Snowden as a possible Russian spy. 

Instead of crediting Snowden for forcing what the president concedes is a much-needed debate, Obama bizarrely cited the example of Paul Revere and the other early American rebels in the Sons of Liberty to denounce their modern equivalent. But the “secret surveillance committee” Obama referenced that Revere and his fellow underground conspirators established was intended to subvert rather than celebrate the crimes of the British controlled government in power.

Somewhere in law school, Obama must have learned that the whole point of our Bill of Rights, inspired by American revolutionaries like Sam Adams, a Sons of Liberty co-conspirator, was to curtail government power as the main threat to freedom. Thus was Adams’ insistence on the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth Amendment, banning the warrantless searches that Obama now seeks to justify.

Some people are raising their voices and they’re rattled.  It only takes five minutes to raise yours.

crash

The crash I’ve warned about is coming.

When it happens, the President will stand up and blame it on his enemies.  Some of you will be foolish enough to believe him.

Anoka-Hennepin teachers stop after-hours work – Star Tribune

I don’t talk about local politics often for a number of reasons but I’m mentioning this article because it ties in with the ongoing K-12 implosion which is a national issue.

In reading through the comments on this article, about 30% of the comments of supportive of the teacher’s actions and about 65-70% condemn the teacher’s actions.  However, I don’t really see anyone on either side cutting to the heart of the issue.

So a little background on this article: what the teachers are doing is called a “work-to-rule” action.  This means that the teachers of the district will stop doing after hours work (grading papers, responding to meails, lesson plans, etc).  Instead they’ll only do work that can be completed during the school day.  As far as what the Teacher’s Union wants, here’s a section from the article:

Anoka-Hennepin teachers have proposed a 2.5 percent raise in each year of the contract and no change to benefits.

According to the union, the district’s last offer, in December, was for a raise of 1 to 1.25 percent in the first year, depending on experience, and of 1 to 1.55 percent in the second year, and for teachers to pay more of future increases in health care costs.

District officials would not discuss specific offers.

“Over the last four years, we’ve made some significant sacrifices. About 60 percent of our teachers haven’t had a raise in four years. Their salaries have been frozen,” Blaha said.

“We have all been making sacrifices in tough times. As we start to turn a corner, it’s time for our compensation to get back on track, too.”

A fair portion of the comments that are critical of the Teachers sounds something like “You’re salaried workers.  In the real world, salaried workers work until the job is done”.  That’s all fine and good, but I strongly suspect a majority of the teachers will continue work in the afternoons and evenings, grading papers and prepping for the next day.  Perhaps I’m wrong about that, but I doubt it.

Those defending the Teachers point to anecdotes of teachers they know that work extremely long hours already to get the job done.  It’s admirable to work long hours, regardless of the profession, but it’s not really germane to the argument unless the only purpose is to refute the argument that teachers don’t work many hours.

The most important element to this teacher’s action is an old adage called “Perception is reality”.  I say that because aside from the Teacher’s union’s most ardent supporters, most everyone else will interpret the decision by teachers to only work during school hours as an attempt to shortchange and perhaps even leverage children to achieve a monetary gain.

That might not be true and it might not be fair;  Many teachers will point out that “Work to Rule” is simply meant to shine a light on how impossible it is to complete the work of a teacher during normal contract hours.  That’s all fine and well, but it’s not how this action will be perceived and the Teacher’s Union should know this.  Consequently, this is horrendously poor judgement on the part of the Teacher’s Union during a period where every high-profile dollar spent by the government is watched very, very closely.

Look at this from the perspective of lower to middle-class parent of a child at any school district in the country.  They see American kids falling behind other countries in academic skills.  They see their kids falling through the cracks at public schools.  Chances are they have someone in their family or perhaps multiple “someones” not able to find employment.  Consequently, statements like “It’s time for our compensation to get back on track, too” will infuriate rather than generate sympathy.  They see a public school system whose teachers and cirriculum is becoming more and more politically partisan with a strong Leftist view of Civics and the Constitution.  They see an incestuous relationship between the teacher’s unions and the Democrat party.

The bottom line is that the average American already has a dim view of the modern day public school system.  Consequently, the question of whether or not the teachers of Anoka/Hennepin School District deserve a raise is immaterial.  Most will take one look at how they’re trying to get that raise and the result will only be a stronger sense of urgency to place their kids in an alternative.

“The president and [Attorney General] Eric Holder were very clear when the president came in,” said Rep. Bachmann.  “He said that he  believes that the DOMA law [Defense of Marriage Act] was unconstitutional and he wouldn’t enforce it. That’s one example of the lawlessness of this president. He’s violating his obligation under the Constitution to faithfully execute the laws of the land.”

So we’ve completely gone askew from what the Founders bled and died and fought for, and that was to have a limited government under a written Constitution, not an unwritten, ever-evolving living letter that becomes whatever anyone wants at any moment, but it actually means something,” she said.

“And isn’t it interesting that Obamacare is being played out exactly the way that the activist courts deal with the Constitution,” said Bachmann.  “Because Obamacare is this living law that no one knows what it means – it’s whatever the president says at a press conference or tweet or whatever some bureaucrat says – and that’s how we’re dealing with the law.  When you do that, you have illegal constitutional anarchy.”

“My opinion is, the legacy of Barack Obama will be of the establishment of lawlessness in the United States,” said Bachmann. “And that doesn’t portend well for the future of the United States. That’s what we have given the world, is the idea of the fact that we, all men are under the law, no one is above the law.”

She’s right on all counts of course.  In respect to the “Defense of Marriage Act”, I don’t believe it’s constitutional either (and on a personal level I detest it), but until that law is found to be unconstitutional, the Attorney General and/or the President don’t get to just choose what laws they want to create or enforce.

However, it’s really hard to believe that you genuinely give a shit about all this, Michelle in light of the fact that you quietly voted to renew the NDAA not even a month ago.

The whole point of putting up this article isn’t about the lawless nature of this Regime, it’s about being more discerning than just voting for a Republican this fall in a blind effort to nullify the thugs in the White House.

So many Republicans talk the talk, but in reality are working towards the same end game as the Democrats.  The only difference is the rhetoric.  So be selective this Fall, get involved in the primaries and vote people into office that will lessen the footprint of the Federal government AND expand your civil liberties.