Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's Bowe Tuesday again...keep him in your prayers...



The gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair now evident amongst the talkers and the chattering class about the newest budget deal is more proof that our constitution still works, even if imperfectly.

I know that many of you have heard that the constitution was outdated, a relic of old white men, not suited for today’s hyper-partisanship. Some of you have even predicted the demise of the Republic.

The only thing hyper right now is the hyperventilating of people like David Brooks, the EEOC’s pick for token Republican at the New York Times.

Brooks is upset because the poor people at the Congressional Budget Office have to work so hard analyzing bills, when after all, so bills are passed into law.

“It’s possible that years will go by without the passage of a major piece of legislation. Meanwhile,” Brooks continues, “Washington nearly strangles on a gnat, like this week’s teeny budget compromise.”

What Brooks sees as a drawback, I see as a benefit.

You see, I for one am a bit more sanguine about the survival of the country, in part, because of the budget deal.

The sad truth is that Republicans and Democrats in Congress got the best budget deal that they were able to.

Neither side has the muscle, under our constitution, to get the kind of deal that they’d like. After the bruising that Republicans took over the shutdown—a shutdown that I supported—and the bruising that Democrats are taking on Obamacare, both sides felt it a necessary evil to put on their “statesmanship” hat for a moment, because frankly, many of them are up for reelection.

With approval ratings hovering in the teens for Congress and an all time low for the president, compromise is the inevitable result. You don’t have to agree with the compromise to understand it.

Even more, this is how our founders intended the government to work. For all of you who cry "What about the constitution?" Compromise and slow change is how the constitution works.

Just as Democrats didn’t march to victory in one or two election cycles, so too Republicans should expect that it will take a bit longer to capture enough of the government to effect real change.

Yes, we could do with better top-of-the-ticket candidates—and that applies to both Tea Party and establishment candidates.

But we are in the process of developing strong leaders, who can appeal to young voters, Hispanic voters, black voters, who at the same time, can appeal to the base.

Rebuilding a party—and the government that goes with it-- isn’t done in one election cycle.

It takes a lot of them.

For example, in 1858 Abraham Lincoln was defeated in his race for the United States Senate by Stephen Douglas, making it Lincoln’s third electoral defeat in a row.

During that time, Lincoln’s old Whig Party broke up, slavery was expanded into the territories under Dread Scott, and the Republican Party was born.

But on the night that Lincoln was defeated, again, victory seemed far away.

As Lincoln emerged from the telegraph office into the rain-soaked street in Springfield, Illinois he lost his balance when his foot slipped on the slick boardwalk. Catching himself before he tumbled into the mud Lincoln muttered to under his breath, “A slip, but not a fall.”

He then smiled brightly.

Recognizing the symbolic importance for his political life of catching himself before he fell, Lincoln understood that his political career was not over despite his string of defeats. He started for home reenergized.

In two years he was elected President of the United States.

It will take a long time to get the ship of state righted.

It also takes a coalition, to replace the coalition that broke up in the wake of Obama’s victory.

But the resources to win still exist.

They are called elections.

Just remember this: They can’t cheat if you don’t make it close.

It will be a lot less close if Republicans keep the government open this time.

That’s what this budget is about.

You don’t have to like. But you should understand it.

You want the power to change it?

Then go take it.

Just when President Obama is on the ropes with Obamacare and the rest of his failed policies, scandals and deceptions, the GOP seems determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory -- a victory not just for the GOP, but also for the American people.

Instead of focusing on their common Democratic "enemy,"

Republicans are firing at one another. Let me try to unpack this a bit.

So-called establishment Republicans tend to believe tea partiers are uncompromising, impractical, overly aggressive kamikazes who are willing to destroy the nation just to make a point. Many tea partiers, in turn, believe there is little difference between the establishment wing and Obama Democrats.

I am on the side of the tea party in this intramural rivalry, but I think some important distinctions need to be made.

Neither establishment Republicans nor tea party conservatives are monolithic. There are some establishment Republicans who are conservative on policy but strongly believe tea partiers are making a huge and self-destructive tactical error in insisting on a hard-line approach, especially in their seeming willingness to allow the government to shut down. Many of them truly believe they are just as conservative on policy as we tea partiers, but think we will never advance conservatism unless we soften our negotiating posture toward Democrats while they control the presidency and the Senate, because advancing conservatism is all about winning national elections.

But there are also many among the establishment wing who are by no stretch as conservative on policy as tea partiers. They have made their peace with a large, intrusive federal government and wouldn't roll back much of the New Deal or Great Society even if they had control of all three branches of government. Many of them favor an "energetic" federal government that implements innovative, proactive solutions to problems, rather than rolling back the government where we can and letting freedom ring and the market work its magic. They are comfortable with higher levels of federal taxing and spending and with solutions emanating from Washington -- such as in education, health care and the environment -- instead of decentralizing government control. So it is oversimplified and misleading to argue that the tea party and establishment Republicans differ only in tactics but not in policy.

The tea party wing isn't monolithic, either, in that it contains both social conservatives and social liberals, but it is unified in its opposition to a federal Leviathan that overtaxes, overspends and overregulates.

We tea partiers are not the self-destructive purists that many establishment types portray us as being.

We agree that national elections are critically important, but we don't agree that the best way to win elections is to avoid government shutdowns at all costs.

We believe that by standing firm on principle and articulating our positions clearly and unapologetically like Sen. Ted Cruz did, we will have a better chance of winning elections in the end.

We reject the Democratic narrative that we will be blamed for every government shutdown -- especially one caused by Obama's insistence on imposing Obamacare against the will of a strong majority of Americans.

We are less inclined to modulate our positions based on polls that represent a brief snapshot in time that cannot factor in the long-term effects of a public national debate over Obamacare between the date of the shutdown and the 2014 elections. We believe that Cruz did not promise he could repeal Obamacare, but that he would rally public support to pressure Congress to that end. We believe Republicans are better situated for Cruz having fought that fight, because it helped to shine the spotlight on the disastrous Obamacare rollout and Obama's pettiness and deceit concerning the shutdown and Obamacare.

We, too, believe elections are critical, but we aren't going to win elections by conceding the narrative to Obama without even putting up a fight or by continuing to nominate moderate candidates who will not inspire the grassroots to vote. Nor will we win by emulating liberals or through phony bipartisan gestures that will never be reciprocated by Democrats. The establishment has had its way on government shutdowns and in presidential nominations -- and we continue to lose, except when tea party themes dominate, such as in 2010.

If Reps. John Boehner and Paul Ryan want to agree to a budget deal that involves immediate spending increases now in exchange for phantom cuts in the future, dilution of the sequester framework and minimal entitlement reform, that's their prerogative. But could they please admit it's not a good deal? It may be the best deal they think they can get, but no one on our side really believes it is a good deal.

Say what you want about the tea party's angst, but I'm seeing a lot of hostility coming from the GOP establishment and a lot of its energy expended in discrediting the tea party, which made the 2010 GOP congressional shellacking of Democrats possible and without which the GOP would forever be a minority party. Some establishment condescension toward the tea party mirrors that of the liberals, and it's quite revealing -- and disturbing.

The establishment wing is feeling its oats today, but it better realize that it is dangerously close to biting the very hand that feeds it and cutting off its own life support. Now that's self-destructive.

OBAMASCARE: Huge premium hikes rock employer-insured workers

Sharon Wilson, an office manager in Iowa, figured she would lock in a good deal on health care coverage for her five-person biofuels company by renewing its policy before Obamacare kicked in for 2014. But she balked when her agent came back with a 81 percent rate hike, anyway.

Her company, Prairie City-based Midwest Renewable Biofuels, had experienced rate hikes during her career, Ms. Wilson said, but not like this. Plus, the previous jumps were accompanied by explanations for why premiums were rising.
This time, she was left guessing about her insurer and the role of President Obama’s signature health care law

“I really think there was fear on their part of the unknown,” she said.

While most of the early Obamacare rollout problems have focused on the uninsured and those who get their policies through the individual market exchanges, more than 150 million Americans who get coverage through their employers are likely to feel the fallout as well.

“The more fundamental question is, ‘What does this do to the commercial market?’” said Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health, a Washington-based consultancy.

Already reeling from criticism over his flawed promise that people who like their health care plans will be able to keep them, Mr. Obama risks further erosion of his credibility if people believe his health care law is cutting into job-based plans they figured were safe.

The Department of Health and Human Services insists that the Affordable Care Act as it rolls out is cutting costs and will help businesses in the long run, but an Associated Press-GfK poll said that nearly half of Americans with job-based coverage or other forms of insurance report that their policies are changing in the coming year — mostly for the worse — and that four out of five of them will blame Obamacare for it.
“No doubt, premiums have been rising consistently for some time,” said Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the National Federation of Independent Business, the advocacy group that fought Obamacare up to the Supreme Court. “However, the health care law has not addressed costs and in many cases has caused them to rise more sharply and rapidly than they would have otherwise, particularly when one considers the added cost of new regulations, etc


Hard to measure

Assessing the impact of Obamacare on the employer-based market is tricky given the myriad factors that affect annual premium changes.

But given the political climate and the early problems with HealthCare.gov and the individual market, many critics are poised to blame any premium increases on the law.

“Any change is going to be attributed to the Affordable Care Act,” said Timothy Jost, a health care policy analyst at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

According to the Census Bureau, less than 55 percent of Americans had employment-based health care plans this year, down from nearly 63 percent over the past decade. Medicare and Medicaid provide health care for the elderly and the poor.

Analysts said smaller employers face the biggest consequences because they are less able to handle adverse changes to the balance of sick and healthy employees than larger firms can. It is a pressing concern because the law prohibits insurers from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions and from charging older consumers more than young people by more than a 3-1 ratio.

Additionally, the health care overhaul includes numerous taxes and fees.

Levies include a “reinsurance fee” of $63 per employee from health insurance issuers and third-party administrators on behalf of self-insured plans. The revenue will be used to stabilize the individual market from 2014 to 2016, when sicker consumers enter risk pools under Obamacare.

Other costs include a $2-per-person tax this year through 2019 to promote medical research, and a more significant tax on health insurers — phased in by 2018 — that is imposed relative to health premiums collected that year.

“Those are also going to increase the cost of insurance for all employer plans,” because the costs are passed along to firms and their employees, said Michael F. Cannon, a health care policy director at the Cato Institute.

Mr. Mendelson said the commercial insurance market is starting to notice the low-premium model that companies are using to attract people to the Obamacare exchanges. Employers are drawn to plans with low upfront costs — they seem like good deals to their employees — even though those workers find themselves saddled with higher deductibles and co-pays.

“I think we’re going to start to see this in 2014, all these things,” Mr. Mendelson said.

Defending the law

The Obama administration says the early evidence is that the health care law has worked to keep prices lower.

“Since the Affordable Care Act became law, health care costs have been slowing and premiums are increasing by the lowest rates in years,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said. “The law is making it easier for businesses to offer coverage, just like it did in Massachusetts when employer coverage increased after reform passed.”

The agency also pointed to the small-business feature of the Obamacare exchanges, known as “SHOPs,” which will provide tax credits and more bargaining power to small firms.

But some states have struggled to set up their SHOP exchanges, and the federal exchange system that serves 36 states will not provide online services on its SHOP until 2015.

Ms. Wilson, the office manager, said she wasted a lot of time trying to get onto the federal small-business exchange online before an insurance agent helped her get through SHOP’s paper-based process. Like many other small-business executives, she said she is working quickly to lock in coverage by January that is comparable to what the company had this past year.

Obamacare Gets Worse

Obamacare Gets Worseby / Personal Liberty Digest


I didn’t really need another reason to deplore Obamacare. The almost daily litany of fraud and failure, from the Oval Office to the Healthcare.gov programmers who apparently got their IT training from the back of a matchbook, has taken my confidence in Obamacare out behind the barn and put a bullet it in its head. Nonetheless, President Barack Obama’s signature achievement coughed up more reminders late last week that it would probably work just as well had it been implemented by whoever writes all those kicky one-liners for Vice President Joe Biden.

As it turns out, the incredibly lucky few Americans who have managed to navigate the byzantine Obamacare enrollment process might not be so lucky after all. Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff posted a story delivering all-new bad news for nearly 15,000 applicants who beat the odds, error messages and web glitches for a spot on the business end of a scam that makes the average Ponzi scheme look like a Faraday cage full of Krugerrands. Their Herculean display of endurance was all for naught. Somewhere between Healthcare.gov and the insurer from which they planned to purchase coverage, their information fell down the memory hole. What’s worse, thanks to one of the many peculiarities of the Obamacare disaster, the Federal government has only a general idea of how many applications disappeared into the data gulag; they don’t have any idea who those 15,000 or so taxpayers might actually be. Since the poor saps who stood in the digital line for this legislative crap sandwich can’t be warned, they may not know they’re in violation of Obamacare’s regulations until they get fined. That’s Federally mandated “double secret probation.”

But wait; the hijinks don’t end there. One of the Democrats’ favorite defenses of Obamacare involves blaming the States that refused to set up their own exchanges for complicating the system. By itself, that’s the logical equivalent of blaming a convenience store for hurting tax revenue by not selling lottery tickets. The State of Washington did set up its own exchange: Washington Healthplanfinder.

And it works almost as well as everything else connected to Obamacare. The site, which is routinely down, has reportedly begun debiting some customers’ bank accounts on the wrong dates, creating even more severe financial hardships for people already victimized by the cancellation notices, premium hikes and provider restrictions Obama promised would never be a part of Obamacare.

Others report that the system has double-charged them. Unfortunately, they can’t contact the State for relief because that would require going through the site, which doesn’t work. According to a report by Seattle’s KING 5 News, one family had to resort to posting a complaint on the Healthplanfinder’s Facebook page following the failure of both the website and the telephone helpline.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website PolitiFact.com announced last week that Obama’s infamous “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” promise had earned its dubious “Lie of the Year” honor. In “winning” the award, the statement outran other Obamacare nuggets, including Obama’s almost comically ridiculous: “What we said was, you can keep (your plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” “Pants on fire!” was the tag PolitiFact gave that whopper.

These latest horror stories, combined with the insane asylum’s worth of nightmares that Obamacare has already thrust upon us, force me to ask one question: Why the hell do we still have Obamacare?

I’m aware the Democrats consider the survival of Obamacare, from which they’ve conveniently exempted most of themselves, more important than life itself. But I’m seriously perplexed as to how we’re still having a national discussion about a clumsily executed enterprise that is as unpopular as the man for whom it’s named.

Not long ago, I joked that if a private citizen were to try to defraud a few hundred million people out of more than $2 trillion, he’d be facing hard time in a Federal penitentiary. I now realize I erred. If someone tried a scam as embarrassingly inept as Obamacare, we wouldn’t lock him up; we’d laugh him off the porch. With the government behind him, Obama didn’t bother to wait on the porch. He’s downstairs, stealing the Krugerrands from the Faraday cage.
Op-ed: 
It's about the color of his character NOT the color of his skin 
By: Diane Sori

Impeachment...while it would be a symbolic gesture at best without the Senate on board, the US House of Representatives could indeed impeach Barack HUSSEIN Obama for crimes against America, and if the Senate did the job they were elected to do...including NOT listening to Harry Reid's party line bloviations...they could for a change do the right thing for this country instead of doing what they perceive as the right thing to keep their cushy jobs.

And their self-perceived right thing is NEVER to vote against America's first so-called black president...or as the politically correct like to say...America's first African-American president...and note the left always uses hyphenated-Americans when describing what should be just 'American'.

In today's America three little words relating to this president are holding this country hostage...the words being 'the race card.' NEVER in our country's history have such little words wielded such power for NEVER has America had a president who relishes in ripping off the scab of healing racial wounds, thus erasing decades of racial progress.

Those three little words have grown men and women in Congress cowering in a corner like naughty children...cowering in fear of being called racists NOT realizing that to some degree everyone is a racist whether or NOT they care to admit it or even realize it. Racism today has become a natural reaction to the antics and words of those like Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, and the other black 'supposed' leaders who fuel white hatred every chance they get by using race simply to stir and inflame political discontent. Never getting over the fact that NO one alive today had anything to do with slavery, these men...and let's now add Oprah Winfrey into the mix for her recent racist comments...are still trying to hold today's white Americans accountable for what happened to black men and women a century and more ago...and to do it for a price...bought and paid for by capitalism for personal gain and wealth...the very thing they claim to hate.

Wonder if their wealth will be redistributed by this president or is that reserved just for whites.

By using tactics of race-baiting and fear mongering, these 'supposed' black leaders...aided by our ever-loving alphabet media...have taken Barack HUSSEIN Obama and made him into something he is NOT...America's first black president. Barack HUSSEIN Obama is America's first bi-racial president for his mother and his entire side through his mother's lineage was 100% white. So tell me do these 'supposed' black leaders only support the half of Obama who is black and spew their hate against the half that is white...or for that matter does Obama himself hate his white half with as much vehement disgust as he hates white Americans.

And the answer to that becomes clear as Obama loves to stroke his black half by pulling out the race card every chance he gets. Using it as a crutch against any and all who dare to question his socialist agenda, Obama has learned his lessons well...divide and conquer your enemy...and we white Americans are his enemy...by turning us against each other by using 'collective guilt' for fear of being called and labeled racists.

And yet even with the race card dangling over Congress' head impeachment still remains a viable option (even though I personally prefer arrest) that can and should be used against this most hateful of presidents...against this thug and his Chicago-style political cronies...against a man who uses race to escape responsibility for his actions. Spoken of in hushed tones, talk of civil disobedience is brewing below the surface all across America as Americans are slowly waking up to the fact of just how bad and inept this president really is. Benghazi, Extortion 17, IRS scandals, the economy, and the monster known as ObamaCare...to name but a few of the things that have made Americans start to say, 'the race card be damned.'

Everyday Americans...as in 'We the People' want...NO we demand...that Congress do something about a president who is a traitor to everything America and Americans hold dear. This president has made a mockery of our Constitution, our way of life, our religious values and ideals, our work ethic, and our exceptionality, and turned us into a nation afraid to take a stand for fear of being labeled as racists...for fear of 'supposed' black leaders saying we are criticizing the president just because he's black...well guess what...NO more.

Barack HUSSEIN Obama, the man who fancies himself a dictator, has committed so many acts of treason that if he were white he would have been arrested and called to task long ago. But with the race card in play any criticism of him is tempered with, 'it's just because he's black.' NEVER mind that his policies both domestic and foreign are a complete and total failure. NEVER mind that he's made our military fight politically correct wars NOT to be victorious but to 'win the hearts and minds of the enemy.' NEVER mind he's armed the enemy. NEVER mind that he panders and caters to the 'sponges' of our society just to garner their votes. NEVER mind the LIES upon LIES upon LIES he feeds 'We the People' now almost on a daily basis. And NEVER mind that our Constitution is NOTHING but a worthless scrap of paper to the man who would be king. NEVER mind all that because he's black...or so he claims...and that is all that matters.

Because he perceives himself to be black we must NOT criticize Obama...we must NOT question him...we must NOT ever dare to call him to task. Because he perceives himself to be black he thinks he has a right to condemn any and all whites for perceived crimes that NEVER happened. Because he perceives himself to be black all black on white crime must be excused because one hundred plus years ago blacks were slaves of the white man. But guess what...because he perceives himself to be black does NOT give him the right to stir up racial hatreds...to stir up racial hatreds in the hopes of starting a race war the likes of which will make the Civil War but a footnote in American history.

But most importantly, because he perceives himself to be black does NOT give Barack HUSSEIN Obama the right to be excused for turning our beloved America...an America built on the exceptionalism of those who came to this country with a dream...into a country NO longer feared and respected but a country who is now mocked by the very ones who should fear and respect us the most.

Barack HUSSEIN Obama must go whether through impeachment or arrest and it has NOTHING to do with the color of his skin but everything to do with the color of his character...a character stained with the blood of Americans he's left behind... stained with the tears of children who were NOT to be born...stained with gasps of utter amazement as our Founding Fathers turn over in their graves crying for the America they envisioned...crying for the America we see slipping from our grasp...and that has NOTHING to do with the color of anybody's skin...period.