Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Obamacare has proven again to be the biggest legislative failure in history, with last week's ruling that its subsidies are illegal. These subsidies induced some 5 million Americans to sign up for Obamacare but are prohibited by law as held by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Halbig v. Burwell.

This humiliation to the Obama administration was a devastating setback to legislation already disfavored by a 59-40 percent margin among the public, according to the latest CNN poll. Twice as many Americans say they are being hurt rather than helped by Obamacare.

Officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare is neither affordable nor protective of patients. It promised subsidies for millions of Americans to buy new health insurance and to pay costly premiums that have driven insurance company stock values to record highs.

People in households making between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line (between $11,670 and $46,680 per year for one-person households) have been getting subsidies to buy insurance on health insurance exchanges. A staggering 90 percent of those who signed up for this Obamacare insurance did so in reliance on these subsidies, which the court just ruled are illegal.

These health insurance exchanges are much more than marketplaces, like Travelocity or Expedia, to make it easier to shop for and buy health insurance. They are also the vehicle for dispensing subsidies and imposing penalties, while also building big brother-like databases about Americans.

The liberal central planners inside the D.C. Beltway thought the 50 States would comply with President Barack Obama's demand that they set up these health insurance exchanges at costs estimated to be as much as $100 million per exchange. As an incentive for states to set up these exchanges, the law provided substantial subsides to people who sign up for a state-established exchange.

The central government planners thought the subsidies would coerce states to establish their own health insurance exchanges, similar to how the federal government coerces states to obey D.C. commands in other fields such as education. But states balked after they saw how much control they would be giving to the federal government by establishing a state exchange and how expensive they would end up being.

Nearly two years ago, noted patient advocate and registered nurse Twila Brase explained why "a state-established exchange is a federal takeover center." State exchanges would be required to obey federal regulations, report annually to the federal secretary of Health and Human Services, and comply with a list of federally mandated Essential Health Benefits as dictated by the HHS secretary.

Her conclusion: "Just say no," because "refusing to build the state exchanges is key to stopping Obamacare." More than two-thirds of the states -- 36 of them -- have done just that.

States do not work for Obama, which he has been slow to figure out. Democrats were crushed in the landslide midterm elections after the passage of Obamacare in 2010, and a repeat performance looms large with the next midterm elections barely three months away.

Back in 2010, Obama was riding high and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded passage of Obamacare by declaring, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it!" But now Democrats are angry at what the D.C. Circuit told them is really in the bill.

Perhaps Obama and his lieutenants should have read the bill before railroading it through Congress.

The text of Obamacare expressly states that the subsidies for the purchase of health insurance on an exchange are available only for an "Exchange established by the State," and the Obama administration broke the law by subsidizing the purchase of health insurance over federal rather than state exchanges.

The D.C. Circuit admirably upheld the law as it was passed and properly rejected attempts by the Obama administration to rewrite it now. The Court admitted that "our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly," but confined its ruling to interpreting the law rather than rewriting it as Obama seeks now.

Adding to the chaos, on the very same day as this defeat of Obamacare in the D.C. Circuit, another federal appellate court upheld it. That is like one umpire calling a pitch as a "ball" after another umpire had declared it a "strike."

Chief Justice John Roberts testified during his confirmation hearings that a judge should limit himself to the role of an umpire, calling the balls and strikes without changing the rules of the game. It is refreshing that a panel of judges on the D.C. Circuit did exactly that in applying the law as it was written, not rewriting it as Obama now wishes he had written it.

Many years ago, on my first trip around the world, I was struck by how the children in the Middle East -- Arab and Israeli alike -- were among the nicest looking little children I had seen anywhere.

It was painful to think that they were going to grow up killing each other. But that is exactly what happened.

It is understandable that today many people in many lands just want the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians to stop. Calls for a cease-fire are ringing out from the United Nations and from Washington, as well as from ordinary people in many places around the world.

According to the New York Times, Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping for a cease-fire to "open the door to Israeli and Palestinian negotiations for a long-term solution." President Obama has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" -- again, with the idea of pursuing some long-lasting agreement.

If this was the first outbreak of violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis, such hopes might make sense. But where have the U.N., Kerry and Obama been during all these decades of endlessly repeated Middle East carnage?

The Middle East must lead the world in cease-fires. If cease-fires were the road to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful place on the planet.

"Cease-fire" and "negotiations" are magic words to "the international community." But just what do cease-fires actually accomplish?

In the short run, they save some lives. But in the long run they cost far more lives, by lowering the cost of aggression.

At one time, launching a military attack on another nation risked not only retaliation but annihilation. When Carthage attacked Rome, that was the end of Carthage.

But when Hamas or some other terrorist group launches an attack on Israel, they know in advance that whatever Israel does in response will be limited by calls for a cease-fire, backed by political and economic pressures from the United States.

It is not at all clear what Israel's critics can rationally expect the Israelis to do when they are attacked. Suffer in silence? Surrender? Flee the Middle East?

Or -- most unrealistic of al -- fight a "nice" war, with no civilian casualties? General William T. Sherman said it all, 150 years ago: "War is hell."

If you want to minimize civilian casualties, then minimize the dangers of war, by no longer coming to the rescue of those who start wars.

Israel was attacked, not only by vast numbers of rockets but was also invaded -- underground -- by mazes of tunnels.

There is something grotesque about people living thousands of miles away, in safety and comfort, loftily second-guessing and trying to micro-manage what the Israelis are doing in a matter of life and death.

Such self-indulgences are a danger, not simply to Israel, but to the whole Western world, for it betrays a lack of realism that shows in everything from the current disastrous consequences of our policies in Egypt, Libya and Iraq to future catastrophes from a nuclear-armed Iran.

Those who say that we can contain a nuclear Iran, as we contained a nuclear Soviet Union, are acting as if they are discussing abstract people in an abstract world. Whatever the Soviets were, they were not suicidal fanatics, ready to see their own cities destroyed in order to destroy ours.

As for the ever-elusive "solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflicts in the Middle East, there is nothing faintly resembling a solution anywhere on the horizon. Nor is it hard to see why.

Even if the Israelis were all saints -- and sainthood is not common in any branch of the human race -- the cold fact is that they are far more advanced than their neighbors, and groups that cannot tolerate even subordinate Christian minorities can hardly be expected to tolerate an independent, and more advanced, Jewish state that is a daily rebuke to their egos.

Nancy Pelosi...idiocy personified

Nancy Pelosi: The [Hamas Sponsor] Qataris “have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization”

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

There is nothing to salvage on the left. They are devoid of morality, humanity and reason. They roll around in the mud with the rest of the savages baying for blood cloaked in sanctimonious condescension.

Pelosi is a constant reminder of how low and debased the left has degenerated.

“Moderate” Qatar: Friday Sermon: Allah, Kill the Jews, Freeze their blood in their veins.” Has anyone asked Pelosi about that?

The Arab emirate of Qatar has issued a decree criminalizing leggings. And a French high school principal had to flee Qatar where he faced arrest for offending Islam.

Qatar is leading sponsor of Hamas – a vicious genocidal jihad group.  Hamas leadership is  holed up in five star luxury hotels in Qatar while sending Gazans to their death in the cause of Islamic Jew hatred. 

Does Nancy Pelosi really believe that the Qataris are qualified to judge what is human? Perhaps she, too, is missing that quality as well.
Pelosi: The Qataris “have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization” (thanks to Jihad watch)
And apparently she believes them. What’s a little genocidal Jew-hatred among humanitarians? Pelosi’s statement is boneheaded, but it is understandable in light of the Obama Administration’s willingness to normalize Hamas and accept it as part of a “Palestinian” unity government....

UN Security Council, with US backing, calls for “unconditional” ceasefire

The UN Security Council in session / Jihad Watch

This is the first time that the United States has not supported Israel at the United Nations. It is surprising that in the Obama presidency, with all of Obama’s obvious hostility toward Israel, that it has taken this long. It is unlikely to be the last time that this happens.

“The United States Lowers Israel’s Diplomatic Shield at the United Nations,” by Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy, July 28, 2014 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
Despite a history of rocky relations between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Obama administration could largely be counted on to watch Israel’s back in the U.N. Security Council, where it succeeded for more than five years in blocking successive efforts by the Palestinians to gain more of the trappings of an independent state and to get the world body to formally censure Israeli settlement policies.
That changed after the stroke of midnight Sunday when, in the early minutes of Monday, July 28, the U.N. Security Council, with the backing of the United States, issued a formal “presidential statement” demanding that Israel and Hamas implement an “immediate and unconditional” cease-fire to end fighting that has left more than 1,000 Palestinians and 43 Israelis dead. The Palestinians say they will continue to seek Security Council support for a legally enforceable resolution demanding that Israel halt its military offensive in Gaza.
The latest U.N. diplomacy comes during a period of deepening tensions between the United States and Israel over the course of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, which Obama maintains needs to stop now, but which Netanyahu insists must be allowed to continue in order to destroy Hamas’s network of subterranean tunnels used for raids on Israel. “I understand that Israel can’t have a cease-fire in which they are not able to — that somehow the tunnels are never going to be dealt with. The tunnels have to be dealt with. We understand that; we’re working at that,” Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Paris on Saturday in a press conference with the foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar.
“By the same token, the Palestinians can’t have a cease-fire in which they think the status quo is going to stay and they’re not going to have the ability to be able to begin to live and breathe more freely and move within the crossings and begin to have goods and services that come in from outside.”…
This moral equivalence is despicable.

Why Do Our Media Support Palestinian Terrorists?

by   / Personal Liberty Digest

Why Do Our Media Support Palestinian Terrorists?
What on Earth is so wrong with the mainstream media in the United States that it can somehow find “equivalency” between the terroristic assaults Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have ordered against Israel and what that beleaguered country is doing to defend itself?

And in many cases, the hand-wringing,
condescending blowhards in our media don’t just blame both sides equally. No, they’ve somehow decided that Israel is the real culprit in the case.

But it is not Israel that is using its civilians, including children, as a human shield for waging war. It is not Israel that has hidden its rockets and mortars in schools, hospitals and civilian homes — and then ordered civilians not to leave the area.

It is not Israel that uses ambulances to disguise its armed combatants, as it moves them from place to place.

It is not Israel that has built dozens of tunnels under the border between the two areas and that uses them to transport weapons of war. Israeli forces have even captured Hamas infiltrators emerging from a tunnel carrying tranquilizers and handcuffs. Apparently, they were hoping to kidnap some Israeli civilians or soldiers, so they could demand another prisoner exchange. (Back in 2011, Israel agreed to trade 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been kidnapped by Hamas.)

On Sunday, Hamas said it would extend a temporary cease-fire that both sides agreed to on Saturday for another 24 hours. But later that afternoon, it resumed firing rockets into Israel, claiming that Israel demonstrated “a lack of commitment” to the cease-fire.

I think you’ll agree that it’s hard to show a commitment to peace when rockets are raining down on you. The Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement: “Following Hamas’ incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window, which was agreed upon for the welfare of the civilian population in Gaza, the IDF will now resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip.”

Thus far, Israeli authorities say that Hamas has launched more than 2,200 rocket attacks against them.

Happily, most of them have been stopped by Israel’s very sophisticated Iron Dome defense system. Still, rocket attacks are a constant danger in the country.

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Sunday night and passed a resolution calling for “an immediate and unconditional cease-fire in Gaza.” The resolution also called for both sides to agree to “a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders.”

Lots of luck getting the leaders of Hamas to agree to that. The group was founded to promote the killing of Jews and the destruction of Israel. Heck, even the U.S. State Department recognizes that it is a terrorist organization. It is not about to change its objectives or its methods of operation because the U.N. Security Council has issued another meaningless piece of paper.

Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said it was remarkable that the Security Council could pass a resolution that “miraculously managed not to mention Hamas, or rockets, or Israel’s right to defend its citizens.” And he added, “The equation is simple. When it is quiet in Israel, it will be quiet in Gaza.”

And so the fighting and bloodshed continue.

There is a lot about this situation that is absolutely appalling. But one thing I have to admire is Israel’s determination to protect its own citizens. I have often wished that our own government would demonstrate a fraction of Israel’s fortitude and resolve.

Wouldn’t you be a lot prouder of your country if it did?

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

MH-17...Searching for the Truth
By: Diane Sori and Craig Andresen

On July 17th another Malaysian plane...MH-17... went down but this time it was different. Different than MH-370 in that this one did indeed crash. However, crashing is NOT what makes this different...being shot down out of the sky does.

While early reports have everyone blaming Vladimir Putin or Russia for this take down there are a few things that just do NOT add up.

First, Putin was the one who told Obama that a plane was down and that in and of itself seems an odd thing for someone supposedly involved to have done. What's even odder is that Obama was fast to accuse Putin of downing the plane before the debris of the plane even had a chance for its fires to die down.

The more we learn...in mere bits and pieces...the more questions are raised. Questions like...was this an actual surface-to-air take down or was this done by an air-to air-missile?

The actual flight path as compared to what should have been the flight path was changed. According to Malaysian air officials, the common route for these planes traveling to Asia would have been about 200 miles south of the flight path this plane was on. Malaysian Air is saying that air traffic control out of Kiev moved MH-17 to a flight path 200 miles north of the one normally used which sent MH-17 directly over the war zone, an alteration probably done while the plane was still in Polish airspace.

Why did they move this plane 200 miles north over the exact area where other military planes had recently been shot down? Part of the problem is that the Kiev government has reportedly seized those records from air traffic control so we might NEVER know.

Another part of the problem is that air traffic control knew damn well this was a civilian airliner and NOT a military plane yet they diverted it over rebel held territory, which raises the question of why would Ukrainian officials send a civilian plane over enemy territory?

One possibility is that this was a deliberate set-up done specifically to create collateral damage which would then be used to defame Putin. And worse yet, could Obama have been part of NOT the take down itself but in setting the blame game stage, especially since he has been 'neutered' so to speak on the international stage by Putin. Remember, Obama rushed to judgment, blaming Putin based on supposed 'classified intel’ before any official investigation had begun. And then there was something he said, something that even at the time seemed to be a preemptive strike should the truth start to leak out.

“Our immediate focus will be on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened and putting forward the facts. And I want to point out there will likely be misinformation as well. I think it’s very important for folks to sift through what is factually based and what is simply speculation,” Obama said.

Recovering those lost was Obama's primary goal NOT getting to the truth...more like silencing the truth if you ask us.

Now more questions...if this was a Buk missile it would have been an SA-11, and according to Jane's Digest...the military weapons digest...to track, lock on, and fire you need a minimum of 5-1/2 minutes. Then you need a visual on the target, and while the SA-11 is guided by radar, you still have to have a visual on the target. MH-17 was a Boeing 777, which we know was at cruising altitude of 33,000 feet and flying at a speed of about 580 ground miles per hour. Because of the flight path and where it was shot down, the plane would only have been over the target area for about a minute and ten seconds, so…if this was a surface-to-air missile how did they manage to track it for the required minimum time or get a visual on it, especially on what was obviously a cloudy, overcast day as can be clearly seen in the videos of the explosion?

That's what's making us think that there's a better likelihood that this was an air-to-air missile and NOT a ground-to-air missile.

But what of the SAM...the SA-11 that was reportedly fired? We know for a fact that Ukraine has had several military aircraft, both fighters and cargo aircraft, shot down in that very area so somebody is most definitely firing missiles but...what if this was an attempt to shoot down yet another ‘military aircraft’ and MH-17 was a case of mistaken identity. Could the separatists have mistaken a Ukrainian fighter jet tailing a civilian aircraft for a Ukrainian fighter escorting a Ukrainian cargo jet...that is indeed a likely possibility...and a heat-seeking SA-11 would have targeted the greatest heat source...the exploding MH-17.
Seen so briefly on the overcast day, separatists could very well have taken a shot as the fighter jet fired at MH-17, and as the SA-11 surface-to-air missiles are heat seekers, the SAM would naturally be drawn to the exploding jet leaving the initial impression with the separatists that they had successfully hit their target.

But even with this possibility, we keep coming back to this very important fact...Ukraine has the SU-25, a fighter jet that carries air-to-air missiles. And this fighter jet can gain an altitude of 6.2 plus miles and is equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles that can hit a target at a distance up to 7.4 plus miles. 

The R-60 air-to-air missile, while updated now, is still available in its original form and as the older version would be less expensive for a struggling nation to purchase. We believe those to be the missiles that are being used by Ukraine. The R-60 is equipped with a fragmentation warhead and a proximity fuse NOT at all unlike the warhead and fuse system used in the SA-11 and either would account for the reported shrapnel damage to MH-17.
And this SU-25 jet is what the Russian military said they detected gaining altitude towards MH-17 on the day of the take down. Here we have a Ukrainian fighter jet... according to the Russians a mere 2 to 3 miles away from MH-17...and its presence of the Ukrainian can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center. Also, according to the  Russian Defense Ministry, at the moment of the MH-17 crash an American 'spy' satellite was parked in a geosynchronous orbit  that specific area of eastern Ukraine, and we... the U.S. government...was asked to publish the space photos and data captured to help show the truth about who shot down the plane, but to date these photos have NOT been published.

Gee...we wonder why...sarcastically said of course.

However, either scenario...surface-to-air or air-to-air...could have resulted in the destruction of MH-17 at 33,000 feet and left telltale signs of shrapnel penetration of the aircraft.

But why would a Ukrainian fighter jet do this...why would Ukraine do this? Simply because Ukraine is losing against Russian forces...and losing big...and desperation could well be setting in is why. What better way to turn the world’s public opinion their way than to place the blame for civilian deaths in such a horrific fashion on Russia...on Putin.

Collateral damage is one thing but intentionally caused collateral damage is something else entirely. But could Ukraine have known ahead of time from the passenger flight manifest that MH-17 was mostly full of Europeans, as this too could help rouse Europe against Russia, at least for the purpose of sanctions.

Now that we've presented two possibilities let's look at one quite different from the others but still something that must be considered in this day and age of muslim terrorists....could MH-17 been brought down by an internal explosion that just happened to occur at the same time the rebels were firing their rockets...could this be Lockerbie revisited?

Remember, at this time we've been told a missile was fired but NO one to date has yet seen the 'classified intel.' Could a bomb have been in the cargo hold and been on a timer or detonated by someone on board...just something to think about. And while with Lockerbie terrorists did immediately take credit for the downing, with MH-17 NO terrorists have yet piped in, but could...and we only say could...the terrorists actually be the Ukrainians themselves...again solely to discredit Putin and the Russians.

And remember, NO terrorist group...NO islamic terrorist group...has yet taken credit for MH-370 which is still missing. Now think of this very scary thought...isn't it more effective NOT to take credit for a plane's downing and keep people on edge as it is to run and scream 'we did it.' The unknown is always more frightening than the known and this would serve terrorists... jihadis...well...as in keep them guessing...keep them scared.

But at this point NO matter who took down MH-17 one thing remains...Barack HUSSEIN Obama's rush to place the blame on Vladimir Putin and Russia. Like we've said previously, Putin has totally emasculated Obama in the eyes of the world. Now Obama is seen NOT as leading from behind but seen as NOT leading at all. The 'Russian Bear' is now in a position of strength for while he currently controls the flow of oil into Europe, with both Ukraine and Crimea brought back into the 'motherland' he would acquire his much wanted and needed warm water port on the Black Sea. This NOT only would get Putin even more control over the flow of oil into Europe, but would aid him NOT in his rebuilding of the old Soviet Union but in his rebuilding of the Russian Empire. This in turn would knock the U.S. down to the world's number two superpower with Russia becoming number one.

But when all is said and done the take down of MH-17 could very well be as we are being told (but we doubt it)...as in the separatists shot a surface-to-air missile and brought this plane down. We are just offering some alternative scenarios to think about, because when Obama rushes to judgment, and when the media blindly falls in lockstep with him, our antennas need to be at full alert. Remember, the last time Obama rushed to judgment was over a YouTube video and we all know how that turned out now don't we.