Saturday, October 12, 2013

Journalism is traditionally known as the “fourth estate,” because journalists sat apart from the three estates that made up parliament. They weren’t simply scribes, writing down everything that happened there. They would also report on whether the lawmakers were following through on their promises. That would allow voters to decide whether lawmakers were making sensible policy decisions.

Of course, it also meant that journalists often ended up opposed to the lawmakers, because they would be reporting that the lawmakers were not following through on their promises, or that the programs the lawmakers implemented didn’t work. They would “speak truth to power.”

They don’t seem quite so opposed to policymakers anymore.

Consider the big ObamaCare rollout. On Oct. 1, everyone across the country was supposed to be able to go to and begin enrolling in a government-approved insurance plan. Oh, and by the way: the law now says everyone must have insurance within three months. So many people no doubt felt the need for speed.

It didn’t happen. “Visitors to the site have endured long wait times, error messages and glitches impeding registration, which is necessary to see available insurance plans and prices,” TIME magazine admitted. The federal government won’t, or can’t, say how many people have actually managed to enroll.

Needless to say, many journalists seem taken aback. As recently as June, The Atlantic offered a breezy account of the excellent work being done to set up the site. “The new will fill a yawning gap in the technology infrastructure deployed to support the mammoth law,” Alex Howard wrote, “providing a federal choice engine for the more than 30 different states that did not develop their own health-insurance exchanges.” Instead, the site has become a yawning gap, swallowing the valuable time of countless users. National Review’s Charles Cooke provides a nice wrap up of journalists who were happy to go along with the Administration’s claim that things would be just fine.

It isn’t simply ObamaCare.

At his most recent news conference, President Obama faced reporters for more than an hour. But as Andrew Malcolm notes, he wasn’t asked any difficult questions about the Park Service going out of its way to close the World War II Memorial. He wasn’t asked why he opposed raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator, but favors raising it now (after his administration has added roughly $10 trillion in debt).

The reporters know “he wants to talk about the shutdown and the evil Republicans' refusal, so far, to cave to his demands,” Malcolm writes. “And so, to a person, they ask him about that and the process.”

And that’s become the big problem with reporters in Washington: They’re focused on the “process.” Return to ObamaCare for a moment. When the bill was being debated in 2009, any reporter could have read it and reported what it said.

The president was making specific claims: That Americans could keep their insurance if they liked it, that the bill would save families $2,500. These claims should have been checkable. Compare them with what’s in the bill and find out.

But that sort of journalism is time-consuming. It was far easier in 2009 to commission a poll. After all, all the major news organizations have polling directors; might as well give them something to do.

Then report the poll results. Presto. There’s your story.

Such poll results would be meaningless, of course, because the people being asked “Do you approve or disapprove of ObamaCare” have no idea what it is they’re approving or disapproving of. It’s a popularity contest, at a time when President Obama was somewhat popular.

There are more sources of information than ever. So Reuters columnist Jack Schafer blames Americans for not taking it all in. “Never before has so much raw and refined political intelligence been available at such a low cost to citizens willing to buy a cheap computer and Web connection,” he writes while reviewing the book Democracy and Political Ignorance by Ilya Somin.

But that’s the classic sign of a failing operation: If customers aren’t buying what you’re selling, blame the customers.

Maybe people aren’t paying attention because they’ve realized that the majority of information being delivered through the major outlets is biased. Those who care enough about a particular issue seek out another viewpoint, while everyone else focuses on living their daily lives.

Americans aren’t dumb. They just recognize they aren’t being served by the current fourth estate.

When it improves, they’ll start paying attention again.
If you think every American should know these facts about Obamacare, do your part to spread this column around and make it happen.

1) Millions of Americans are paying much more for health care because of Obamacare. Obama's new health care law has a lot of new requirements, restrictions, and red tape. That means the cost of plans is going up and the amount of competition in many states is going down. Because of this, the price of health care is soaring all across the country. Here are a couple of examples of how bad it is already getting.

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama. Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.
Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.
How many American families can afford an extra $10,000 a year to pay for a service that they were already receiving?

2) Millions of Americans have LOST their health care plans because of the law. One of Barack Obama's most famous promises about Obamacare was, "First of all, if you've got health insurance, you like your doctor, you like your plan - you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you."
However, health care plans are being dropped all across the country by insurance companies because they don't meet the minimum standards of the expensive new plans that are preferred by Obamacare.

How bad has it already gotten? 800,000 Americans lost their health care plans in New Jersey alone.

3) The Obamacare website costs more than Facebook and it doesn't work. How do you in good conscience roll out a product that just doesn't work when people's health is on the line? Worse yet, if the product costs this much and performs this badly, what does it tell you about how well it will work in the future? Facebook took six years to spend 500 million dollars, while the Obamacare website has already managed that same trick. Yet, the glitches on the website were so bad, that as few as five thousand Americans may have managed to sign up so far across thirty four states. When you are quite literally asking Americans to put their lives in your hands, that's a stunning level of incompetence.

4) Obamacare is a terrible deal for young Americans. As a general rule, older Americans tend to have more experience, more money, and more assets built up. Yet, for Obamacare to work financially, young Americans have to take a big financial hit to supplement the cost of insurance for senior citizens. In fact, most young Americans would be better off getting a cheap plan that doesn't qualify under Obamacare and paying the tax than they would signing up for an Obamacare approved plan.

A recent study by the National Center for Public Policy Research shows that: About 3.7 million of those ages 18-34 will be at least $500 better off if they forgo insurance and pay the penalty.
More than 3 million will be $1,000 better off if they go the same route.
When young Americans are already struggling with an anemic job market, piling on these extra costs is helping to put them even further behind.

5) Americans are losing their jobs because of Obamacare. America's economy has been sluggish throughout Obama's entire tenure as President and according to a study by numbers guru John Lott, 97% of the jobs added to the economy this year have been part-time. Obamacare is one of the biggest reasons that's happening. Retailers are cutting worker hours at a rate not seen in more than three decades to try to make sure their employees don't qualify under Obamacare. Full time workers are even being cut back to part-time because 50 full time workers is the cut off for a business being forced to comply with Obamacare's mandates. In other words, not only is Obamacare causing a lot of problems with health care, it's hurting our economy almost as badly.

6) America is still going to have tens of millions of Americans that are uninsured. The primary selling point of Obamacare was supposed to be that everyone would have health care. In fact, we heard over and over again that we had to pass Obamacare because "Forty million Americans don't have health care." According to the Congressional Budget Office, guess how many Americans won't have health care in 2023? If you guessed thirty-one million, give yourself a pat on the back.

So these soaring insurance premiums, people losing their jobs, horrific website problems, and young Americans being hit with crippling bills along with forcing Catholics to do treatments that violate their religious beliefs, upcoming doctor shortages, and government shutdowns are all so we can insure a few million more Americans over the course of a decade.

Is it really worth it to hurt so many tens of millions of Americans just for that miniscule benefit?

Lawyers for Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer ask federal court to order King County to run anti-terrorism bus advertisement picturing 16 Muslim terrorists

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

Thumbnail image for AFDI Terrorism Ad.jpg

Would you ever imagined that twelve years after 9/11, it would be "demeaning" and "objectionable" to show pictures of the Islamic jihadists who have dedicated their lives to murdering non-Muslims, particularly Americans? If anything shows the true colors of the Islamic supremacist advocacy groups and purveyors of the "Islamophobia" myth, it is this: they have succeeded in making it mainstream opinion to resist jihad terror and Islamic supremacism is "hateful" and "bigoted."

"Lawyers for Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer Ask Federal Court to Order King County to Run Anti-Terrorism Bus Advertisement Picturing 16 Muslim Terrorists," from the American Freedom Law Center, October 10:
Seattle, Washington (October 10, 2013) — Late yesterday, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national, nonprofit Judeo-Christian law firm, filed a motion asking the federal court in Seattle, Washington, to order the King County transit authorities to run Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s anti-terrorism advertisement “forthwith” because the County’s refusal to run the advertisement is an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech. AFLC is requesting that the court force the County to display the advertisement immediately, pending the outcome of the litigation. 
The lawsuit, filed by AFLC in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle on behalf of Geller, Spencer, and their organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), alleges that King County refused to run an AFDI anti-terrorism advertisement that displayed photographs of global terrorists from the FBI’s most wanted list. According to the complaint, in June of this year, King County displayed an advertisement submitted by the federal government that depicted the “Faces of Global Terrorism” in an effort to “stop a terrorist” and “save lives.” The advertisement offered an “up to $25 million reward” for helping to capture one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists.
The terrorists identified in the advertisement are also found on the FBI’s most wanted global terrorists list, which is posted on the FBI’s website. This list includes pictures and “wanted posters” for thirty-two terrorists. Of the thirty-two listed terrorists, thirty are individuals with Muslim names or are wanted for terrorism related to organizations conducting terrorist acts in the name of Islam.
According news reports at the time, the federal government terminated its “Faces of Global Terrorism” advertisement campaign after receiving complaints from politicians and advocacy groups that took offense that the list of wanted global terrorists pictured in the advertisement appeared to include only Muslim terrorists.
Shortly after the government pulled the advertisement, Geller and Spencer, on behalf of AFDI, submitted an advertisement to King County that included the same pictures, names, and message as the government’s earlier display.
David Yerushalmi, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented: “Our government’s incessant desire to appease Islamic terrorist apologists like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood front group operating here in the United States with impunity, is literally placing all American citizens at serious risk.
Consequently, if the government won’t identify our enemy, we will make certain our clients can.”
Despite having previously accepted the federal government’s “Faces of Global Terrorism” advertisement, on August 15, King County rejected AFDI’s advertisement, claiming that it contains (1) “material that is or that the sponsor reasonably should have known is false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or would constitute a tort of defamation or invasion of privacy”; (2) “material that demeans or disparages an individual, group of individuals or entity”; and (3) “material that is so objectionable as to be reasonably foreseeable that it will result in harm to, disruption of or interference with the transportation system” in violation of the County’s Transit Advertising Policy.
AFLC has represented Geller, Spencer, and AFDI successfully in federal lawsuits across the country, most notably in New York and Washington, D.C., where the courts have ordered the transit authorities to run AFDI’s anti-terrorism advertisements. In both of those cases, the transit authorities were forced to pay substantial legal fees to AFLC.
Earlier this year, the Chicago transit authority initially refused to run an AFDI “anti-jihad” advertisement, only to capitulate after stating in a letter that while the transit authorities considered the advertisement “morally reprehensible,” they were aware of AFLC’s successful litigation in New York and Washington. In that case, Yerushalmi commented, “the CTA has capitulated grudgingly, apparently, to the First Amendment of the Constitution.”
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise remarked upon filing the motion: “King County’s prior restraint on our client’s speech is not only wrongheaded, it is clearly unconstitutional. Under the First Amendment, the government is not permitted to impose special prohibitions on speakers who express views on disfavored subjects or on the basis of hostility towards the messenger or the underlying message expressed.”
Yerushalmi added: “It is quite evident, based on the fact that King County initially accepted the federal government’s advertisement only to have the feds pull the ad for fear of offending Muslims, that King County is now suffering from the quite debilitating disease of political correctness. And there is little doubt that King County officials also dislike the messenger—our clients—who are doing a great service by alerting all Americans to the dangers of sharia and its followers.”
The federal judge presiding over this lawsuit is the Honorable Richard A. Jones, who is highly regarded as a jurist by the lawyers who appear before him. As reported by the Seattle Times in a 2007 article, he is the half-brother of the well-known musician, Quincy Jones.

More Signs The Regime Is Failing

by / Personal Liberty Digest

More Signs The Regime Is Failing
I have told you often that a tell-tale sign of a failing regime is increased controls over the people. Now look around.

The regime’s failure is accelerating at breakneck speed and should be obvious to everyone.

Across the country, armed government goons are cordoning off open, public lands and monuments owned by the people. Worse than that, armed government goons have even held hostage tourists caught in Yellowstone National Park at the time of the theater-of-the-absurd that is the so-called government shutdown. The tourists included foreigners who feared they were being arrested and were made to feel like criminals.

In addition to terrorizing tourists and preventing them from photographing wildlife, viewing Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon and other national monuments possessed by the people, the regime is capriciously endangering private businesses and non-profits. It is blocking off parking areas and preventing tourists from entering the businesses and requiring business owners to refuse service under threat of permit revocation. It is also forcing homeowners from their own properties.

In addition to believing it controls all lands and monuments owned by the “public,” the regime even thinks it controls the ocean and has ordered boats out of 1,100-square-mile Florida Bay.

In Tennessee, the regime has now closed the Foothills Parkway, the main and only safe thoroughfare for school buses in Blount County. The road closure required the school system to stop bus service for a whole community and forces parents to drive on steep, crumbling and winding roads through the Tennessee mountains. It should be prime example that what the government controls, it can take away at a whim.

Under the regime, everyone is required to buy a service (health insurance) whether they want it or not. And thanks to regime interference in the service, it must now be purchased at a price often far exceeding what it had been before the government instituted these new controls. The regime controls what services are offered and what are not under the system.

But either through incompetence or design, it is almost impossible to sign up for that service and avoid coming fines and penalties.

Compliance with the order to purchase the service comes with the requirement to provide all personal financial information. This empowers the regime to make good on its threat to confiscate bank accounts and seize assets as punishment for non-compliance and opens up Americans to a greater danger of fraud and theft by thieves both in and out of government.

Secretive laws and regulations have also been passed that render your bank accounts open to government plunder. And we have the recent example of Cyprus and the 1930s example of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to show that government functionaries and the elected class have the will and the means to plunder private accounts to prop up their failing regimes and redistributionist scams.

U.S. government agencies have publicly contemplated confiscating $19.4 trillion in retirement accounts under the guise of better managing people’s retirement funds.

Yet while the regime increases its controls over lands and property bought and paid for by theft and confiscation — both overtly through taxation and covertly through inflation — from the accumulated assets of Americans, it continues to confiscate and inflate away more and more of America’s earnings and  strengthen its grip on America’s economic throat.

We are experiencing the transition from benevolent to overt totalitarianism… or democracy to complete fascism. We long ago transitioned from Constitutional republicanism to unConstitutional democracy.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance…  He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws: giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.”

The questions are how much longer will the people tolerate this “long train of abuses and usurpations,” and is it the grand design of the regime’s globalist masters to push Americans to the brink in order to hasten the collapse?
Ben Carson: Obamacare Worst Thing Since Slavery
By Todd Beamon

Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson unleashed his strongest attack yet on Obamacare on Friday, saying that President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement was "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery."

"It is slavery, in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government," Carson, who retired in May from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said at a speech at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington. "It was never about healthcare. It was about control.
See the video of Dr. Carson's speech here:

"That's why, when this administration took office, it didn't matter that the country was going off the cliff economically, all forces were directed toward getting this legislation passed," Carson added, with his comments drawing much applause from the event's 2,000 attendees.

"Why did they want to pass it so badly?" before answering with a comment from Vladimir Lenin. 
"He said that socialized medicine is the keystone to the establishment of a Socialist state. That's the problem."

The summit, which ends on Sunday, is sponsored by the Family Research Council, the Washington-based Christian right-leaning think tank that the Southern Poverty Center has labeled an anti-gay hate group.

Other sponsors include such nonprofit organizations as the Heritage Foundation, the American Family Association, American Values, and Liberty Counsel Action.

Among those speaking on Friday included Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Others included House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Former Arkansas Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint are also scheduled to speak at the summit.

Carson, who has been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, continued his attacks on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other policies of the president that began with his comments in February at the National Prayer Breakfast as Obama sat on the dias.

Many of his remarks on Friday drew sustained applause from the audience.

"It is the most valuable thing you have," Carson said, referring to one's health. "Everything else pales into insignificance, compared to your health. And that's the reason why your health should be controlled by you and not the government."

He segued into his Obamacare critique by saying, "It's really time for the people, we the people of America, to stop being afraid of the government and put it in its place.

"Government plays a very important role when, in fact, it believes in the Constitution. That's the problem. When they begin to neglect the Constitution, when they begin to impose their own will."

Hinting at President Obama's decision to delay portions of the healthcare law for big business, Carson continued: "When they look at laws of the land and they say, 'OK, I think I'll enforce this one. This one I won't.' When they begin to treat people differently.

"When they say that people in the Executive Branch and in the Legislative Branch don't have to participate in certain programs, but everybody else has to … .

"That's not America. That's Russia," Carson said. "How did we allow that to happen in this nation?"

After his speech, Carson told The Hill that he would consider a White House run.

"[Running for president] is not something I have any desire to do whatsoever," he said, though adding "but I certainly listen."

"If the circumstances were to evolve in such a way that that seemed to be what God was calling me to do, I would certainly do it," he told the Hill. "And I would never turn my back on my fellow citizens, if there was a hue and cry for such."