Saturday, December 28, 2013

Barack And Michelle Ask Moms To Become Obamacare Community Organizers On Their Grocery Trips
by / Personal Liberty Digest

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle met with eight moms at the White House last week to establish a nebulous cultural association between domestic nurturing and the Affordable Care Act, with the President entreating mothers everywhere to become community organizers for Obamacare the next time they’re in the cereal aisle.

obamacare1219“There’s something about moms,” said the President. “Nothing can replace telling stories in the grocery store to somebody who may be skeptical. And that kind of face-to-face interaction makes this concrete and it describes exactly why this is so important.”

“The words I think of are ‘peace of mind,’” the first lady added.

“Every family needs the peace of mind to know they’re going to have the safety net they need. As Barack said, these stories are powerful… I’d urge everyone out there who has a story to share it.”

According to Valerie Jarrett, who says she doesn’t really hold much sway with the Obamas anyway, “The first lady is the best salesperson” for Obamacare.

She’s getting involved now, Jarrett said, because she’s the right person to convey the message of the moment: that the uninsured — especially young people and minorities — should look for insurance on exchanges and that those with insurance are already feeling the benefits of the law.
As this phase continues, Obama will speak out more on health care, Jarrett said. People familiar with the White House’s plans expect more engagement by the first lady in 2014.
The timing of her involvement, after controversies have eased and ahead of the holidays, is no accident.
“There is no question that they wanted to keep her away from the mess [of] it,” said Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist who has a good relationship with the East Wing.
“Now that things have started to smooth out and they’ve been able to get to a point of focusing more on the benefits and those folks who are able to sign up for insurance, it’s the right moment for the first lady to get involved.”
The right moment. Sure, be our guest.

At least right now, perhaps the first lady would like to rethink her grocery-gossip advice. She probably doesn’t want somebody’s mom to share this story. Or this one. Or this one right here. And speaking of domestic nurturing, for heaven’s sake, don’t let anybody’s mom share this one. Heck, why not? Here are four more. And, unless Michelle and Barack are going for irony, the grocery store probably isn’t the ideal venue to share this story, or this one — especially if a store employee is within earshot.

Not counting humor-oriented pieces such as this and this, it’s been nearly a month since I’ve written about Obamacare.

To make up for this oversight, today we’re going to look at a way out of the Obamacare mess.

But the goal isn’t simply to repeal the President’s bad policy. That merely gets us back to where we were in 2009. We need to figure out how to restore market forces to healthcare, and that means undoing decades of misguided government intervention.

Fortunately, we have a roadmap thanks to John Cochrane, a Cato adjunct scholar and Professor at the University of Chicago. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he explains how radical deregulation is the right approach.

He starts with an essential point that “settled law” doesn’t mean unchangeable law.
…proponents call it “settled law,” but as Prohibition taught us, not even a constitutional amendment is settled law—if it is dysfunctional enough, and if Americans can see a clear alternative.
And he points out that Obamacare will get worse over time.
This fall’s website fiasco and policy cancellations are only the beginning. Next spring the individual mandate is likely to unravel when we see how sick the people are who signed up on exchanges, and if our government really is going to penalize voters for not buying health insurance. The employer mandate and “accountable care organizations” will take their turns in the news. There will be scandals. There will be fraud. This will go on for years.
But the law won’t collapse on its own. Indeed, its failures will be used as excuses for even more government.
Yet opponents should not sit back and revel in dysfunction. …Without a clear alternative, we will simply patch more, subsidize more, and ignore frauds and scandals, as we do in Medicare and other programs.
So what should be done?

Professor Cochrane points out that the healthcare system isn’t a free market now and it wasn’t a free market when Obamacare was imposed.

Instead, it’s one of the most heavily government-controlled sectors of our economy.
The U.S. health-care market is dysfunctional. Obscure prices and $500 Band-Aids are legendary. The reason is simple: Health care and health insurance are strongly protected from competition. There are explicit barriers to entry, for example the laws in many states that require a “certificate of need” before one can build a new hospital. Regulatory compliance costs, approvals, nonprofit status, restrictions on foreign doctors and nurses, limits on medical residencies, and many more barriers keep prices up and competitors out. Hospitals whose main clients are uncompetitive insurers and the government cannot innovate and provide efficient cash service.
He then explains how a market could operate – if it was allowed.
A much freer market in health care and health insurance can work, can deliver high quality, technically innovative care at much lower cost, and solve the pathologies of the pre-existing system. …We’ll know we are there when prices are on hospital websites, cash customers get discounts, and new hospitals and insurers swamp your inbox with attractive offers and great service. …Only deregulation can unleash competition. And only disruptive competition, where new businesses drive out old ones, will bring efficiency, lower costs and innovation.
If this sounds familiar, it may be that you watched this video from Reason TV on market-based hospitalization. And if you haven’t, you should!

Cochrane writes that deregulation will enable the “creative destruction” that brings progress in other parts of the economy.
We need to permit the Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, and Apples of the world to bring to health care the same dramatic improvements in price, quality, variety, technology and efficiency that they brought to air travel, retail and electronics. …Health insurance should be individual, portable across jobs, states and providers; lifelong and guaranteed-renewable, meaning you have the right to continue with no unexpected increase in premiums if you get sick. Insurance should protect wealth against large, unforeseen, necessary expenses, rather than be a wildly inefficient payment plan for routine expenses. People want to buy this insurance, and companies want to sell it. It would be far cheaper, and would solve the pre-existing conditions problem. We do not have such health insurance only because it was regulated out of existence.
Needless to say, Obamacare is the opposite a free market. It assumes that you solve government-created problems by adding additional layers of government.
The Affordable Care Act bets…that more regulation, price controls, effectiveness panels, and “accountable care” organizations will force efficiency, innovation, quality and service from the top down. Has this ever worked?
Cochrane has the right diagnosis and right cure, but that’s the easy part. The real challenge is implementing the policies that would restore a functioning market.

That requires reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, not only to save money for taxpayers, but also because those are some of the steps that are needed if we want market forces to bring down the cost of healthcare.

Health care liberalization also means a flat tax, not only for the pro-growth impact of lower tax rates, but also because it gets rid of the internal revenue code’s healthcare exclusion, thus ending the distortion that encourages over-insurance.

It means state-by-state battles to get rid of regulations, mandates, and other forms of intervention that hinder competition and markets.

They say that even long journeys begin with a single step. That’s true, but it’s also important to walk in the right direction.

That hasn’t happened in recent decades, so it’s time to scrub the slate clean. We need free markets, not more government. We need more consumer sovereignty, not more third-party payer.

Since I’m a sucker for good political humor, we’re going to close with a great Michael Ramirez cartoon. As you can see, there’s a reason why he won my political cartoonist contest. Indeed, if I ever do another contest, this could replace his award-winning “Julia” cartoon.

Pajama Boy Move Out
It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Pajama Boy.

Maybe somebody should fix him up with Julia. I’m guessing they wouldn’t even know how to reproduce without intervention, handouts, and subsidies, so that would be an additional way of improving the gene pool.

And it would offset the reproductive advantage of the bureaucracy.
"Understand – raising the debt ceiling does not allow Congress to spend more money. It simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up" President Obama, July, 2011.

We, of course, face another debt limit battle early in 2014.

Perhaps a good place to start for the President is to propose reductions in Federal spending equal to the bills that he has "racked up". His contribution to the deficit has been through executive orders, incompetent management by leaders of the executive branch (Obamacare & Energy) and other decisions that strain any reasonable interpretation of allowable executive powers under the Constitution of the United States.

On the Obamacare front, the deferral of the employer mandate and now the deferral of at least a significant portion of the individual mandate will cost Treasury billions of dollars in 2014 and 2015.

These actions were not authorized, approved or even discussed by Congress and the Internal Revenue Code, which is the law, remains unchanged. In reality, the elimination of these taxes (determined to be taxes by the Supreme Court) would be ruled unconstitutional before any Federal judge if 'standing' within a Federal Court was available for any citizen to challenge these actions of the President.

Continuing on the Obamacare front, the inability of the Treasury to document and monitor the legal appropriateness of insurance subsidies will cost the Treasury many more billions. The politically incented exemptions granted by HHS will drive up the deficit; the subsidies necessary to keep the insurance companies in business after the demographic reality of the Obamacare signups becomes reality could cost in the tens of billions. And of course, this website fiasco appears to be costing billions as well. These costs come from the White House, not Congress.

Another cost of Obamacare that has escaped discussion to date is the deductibility of medical expenses on individual tax returns. As the result of the regulations written by HHS, insurance costs for 2014 have exploded along with deductibles required before insurance company reimbursements kick in. This will increase medical costs for most insured individuals by thousands. The good and the bad here is that individuals receive tax deductions for medical expenses (including medical insurance) exceeding ten percent of adjusted gross income. This deduction, previously not often available because medical expenses were almost always less than ten percent, will impact perhaps millions more tax returns in 2014 and forward a significant cost to Treasury.

Last week, the Obama administration announced that they had sold its remaining shares in General Motors at a loss of about $10.5 billion. The bailout of General Motors was a White House operation.

The Treasury Department reported that it had recovered $39 billion in stock gains and interest from its $49.5 billion rescue. Transparency not being the Treasury's strongest asset at the moment, this is only a portion of the story.

The easy part of recognizing the real cost of the General Motors transaction is that the Treasury bailed out General Motors with borrowed money. Using an interest rate of 2.5% over four years means the bailout cost the government about $5 billion. That would take the loss to $15.5 billion. The hard part to follow is that the White House awarded General Motors tax benefits contrary to any reasonable reading of the Internal Revenue Code that will convey a subsidy of about $16 to $20 billion to General Motors over the next two decades. (Of interest, any future Secretary of the Treasury can challenge these tax benefits, but no citizen has 'standing' to do so.)

How important are these tax benefits to General Motors? The most recent balance sheet of General Motors has a book value (assets less liabilities) of $37 billion. The book value of the tax benefits on that balance sheet is now $36 billion. General Motors' net worth is effectively equal to its tax benefits, most of which were conveyed to General Motors by the White House.

The list of White House created costs includes many other White House programs such as the vaunted investments in solar energy. The list of other non-Congress approved expenditures is not endless, but very, very long.

What the President cannot seem to understand or accept is that there is nexus with respect to the costs of operating the government that are coming out of the White House and not out of Congress. The White House is expending funds and reducing taxes without Congressional involvement and, in my opinion, without legal authority to do so. Maybe in conjunction with lifting the debt ceiling, the President should be required to find offsetting budgetary cuts equal to his executive orders and other actions increasing the deficit that have occurred without Congressional approval.
Leon vs. Pauley...our freedoms rest on the final outcome
By: Diane Sori

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." - The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Well we all knew this was coming didn't we as yesterday U.S. District Judge William Pauley betrayed our Constitution by negating our right to privacy as per the Fourth Amendment.  And he did so with his ruling that the National Security Agency's (NSA) 'sticking their nose into our private business' phone-tracking program is indeed legal.

Negating the December 16th ruling that came down from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon that stated the NSA's surveillance program is actually unconstitutional, Judge Pauley justified his ruling by stating that what the NSA is doing "represents the government's counter-punch" needed to eliminate al-Qaida's terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications.

But didn't Obama say al-Qaeda is decimated and on the run...but I digress...

And so I say NO way to Pauley's ruling as all that needs to be done is to listen in on those of a 'certain' ethnicity and 'certain' religious persuasion...oh wait...that would be racial profiling wouldn't it...the chief Obama political correctness no-no. Better the NSA spy and invade the privacy of everyday innocent Americans than focus their attention on those they know damn well are the only ones they need to keep tabs on.

And so political correctness wins out yet again and 'We the People' lose as there goes our Fourth Amendment rights to privacy and to be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Using the 'what if' argument instead of adhering to the Fourth Amendment's 'probable cause' wording in issuing his decision, Pauley dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of conservative legal activist Larry Klayman (who wanting to turn the case into a class action on behalf of all Americans) against both James Clapper, the director of the NSA, and against the Justice Department. In doing so, Judge Pauley claimed that if a phone data-collection system had been used back in 2001 it could have "helped investigators connect the dots before the attacks occurred" and possibly prevented them.

To which I say NO way as those determined to kill will always find a way to do so.

And this snooping...this out and out spying on innocent Americans just in case they might someday maybe get involved in criminal activity should be blatantly in-your-face unconstitutional to anyone who has even a moniker of understanding about our constitutionally given rights and protections.

Sadly, Judge Pauley just does NOT get it as he continued that the government learned from its previous mistakes and "adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world" and that the bulk data-collection program (data mining) was part of that adjustment.

Pretty words that negate the very heart of the Fourth Amendment as it dismisses the underlying premise of privacy and unreasonable searches and seizures, thus allowing the Obama government in effect to initiate a police be Big Brother...and to iron fist rule over us all.

And the problem here is that Judge Pauley's ruling should NEVER have happened but did because the previous ruling by Judge Leon (who was appointed to the bench by Republican George W. Bush in 2002) was issued as a preliminary injunction against the program, which is well and fine, but then Leon stayed his injunction “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues,” which allowed for an appeal by the Justice Department, which they did post haste.

Judge Leon's ruling stated that the government "does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA's bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack'' yet in (Clinton appointee) Pauley's ruling it states just the opposite.

“Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, Leon said while Pauley stated that 15 separate judges on the surveillance court have held on 35 occasions that the data collection program is legal. So the final ruling to reconcile the two opposing decisions according to the ACLU...who plans to appeal their case to the Second Circuit in Manhattan...could be reached by the U.S. Supreme Court.

And if it does go to the Supreme Court we are in serious trouble if Barack HUSSEIN Obama gets a chance to shift the now somewhat conservative leaning court...somewhat conservative because we cannot be sure which way Chief Justice John Roberts will rule...over to an outright liberal leaning court by his being able to nominate new leftist judges to the bench.

And if that's the case 'We the People' are screwed big time as lost on most of those currently sitting on the bench...and assuredly to be lost on any Obama nominees to the the fact that NO one should be able to read our letters, track our phone calls, or monitor our internet usage, except if there is an undeniable and reasonable suspicion that we have committed or are in the process of committing a crime...period.

And so as the Leon ruling vs. Pauley ruling works its way through the Appellate Court and maybe up to the Supreme Court, 'We the People' can only hope and pray that the right thing is done in the end and that the Constitution's words are honored...but I won't hold my breath that they are.