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Divide and Conquer: Dems vs. Republicans

January, 1973 marked the big divide, with Roe v. Wade forever separating those of us who believe in the inalienable human right not to be killed from those who separate our species into two big classes: the ones who are human-enough and the ones that aren’t.

That was the ugly beginning of even further class divisions, with some groups of people given power to claim more “rights” than other groups. The concept of individual inalienable rights endowed by Nature of being human dissolved in the class warfare that resulted.

Don’t forget the 60’s, when the Dems opposed Civil Rights legislation while spending – redistributing- every penny of Social Security and Medicare taxes to engineer a society based on the power of the greatest number.

For me, though, the Dems proved themselves liars and undependable in 1968, when I was 12. Watching the national political Parties and the Presidential Primaries, I saw not only the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. My natural inclination would have been sympathy toward the Party that claimed them.

However, I also became aware that it was the Dems who were rioting, calling policemen “pigs,” and soldiers “baby killers,” supporting the Black Panther and Weathermen, and telling us to “never trust anyone over 30,” to justify their violence.

I knew policemen and soldiers – and lots if people who were over 30 and deserving of my trust – so I knew these were false accusations. Even then, I could tell that they were dehumanizing entire groups, refining the old myth that some humans aren’t human-enough to possess inalienable rights in order to gain power.

National Security Letters

​While we were distracted by whether Kellyanne Conway was “lying” about “alternative facts” and how mean Bannon and Spicer are, the FBI quietly lifted the gag order on National Security Letters issued by them during the previous Administration.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, so the following is a lay explanation.

These “Letters” are in fact, subpoenas issued by a government agency. They don’t require a judge or FISA Court review or warrant. 

Get this: the laws authorizing the NSLs are called “Patriot” and ” Privacy” Acts and the gag order provisions have been vetted by the Ninth Circuit of Appeals:

However, the government appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which vacated her ruling and sent the case back to the district court. Last month that court ruled that the gag order challenge was no longer relevant because the USA Freedom Act had successfully addressed the issue of gag orders

GoogleTwitterFacebook, and others reported the release from the gag order during the last couple of months. Yahoo, along with the others, has been fighting in court and some of the Letters have been disclosed to the targets:

Over the past several years, Google challenged 19 NSLs in court and last year won the right to tell WikiLeaks employees that their data had been requested.

I sincerely thought that all of these sorts of subpoenas were required to eventually go through approval of a FISA Court judge. Hopefully, the Trump Administration will not continue the Obama Administration’s abuse of these Letters and that Congress will correct the law.

Not-Libertarian Town Hall

Watched the John Stossel “Libertarian Town Hall” from August 26th on YouTube.   I believe I will “discriminate” against these two. Johnson and Weld don’t seem to understand the basic tenets of either the Libertarian Party or their former Republican Party. They have moved far to the Left and openly  advocate force against anyone who works in the public

Basic Ethics: It’s not aggression ( or harmful “discrimination”)  to refuse service – to refuse to act. In direct contrast to the statements made by these two, religious freedom is not restricted to “the church” or within the church worship service. Integrity requires that people practice their religion in all aspects of our lives. And, business regulation cannot legitimately be used to enslave by forcing future labor or giving the government the power to allocate private property.

Both men argued that the government may force a Christian baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Johnson repeatedly refused to answer Stossel’s question about the Muslim delivery owner being forced to sell pork. Such simple question!


Johnson tried to make a distinction between selling a cake and decorating the cake, calling the latter a matter of free speech. The point is that the right to liberty is an inalienable right which gives rise to religious and speech liberties.

In the cases that have been brought against bakers who won’t sell cakes, the cakes have been *wedding* cakes which are, indeed, decorated. Those cakes would have been the result of future labor, and made to order, not cakes already baked, waiting in a display shelf. 


In order to justify Federal interference, Weld said of one program, “The proof is in the pudding.” In other words, the ends justify the means. No, in an ethical world, illicit means are illicit, even if they work.

The bottom line is that neither Gary Johnson nor Bill Weld displayed an understanding of ethics, or the rationale behind Libertarian or Republican policies. 



Independence or slavery: Does the government own you?

Declaration photoLet’s face it: if the government can tell you that you cannot refuse to act, the government owns you.

Liberty is not simply the freedom to act, it’s the more fundamental freedom not to act. Remember the proverb that “The right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose?” True liberty includes the right *not* to make a fist at all. To force the hand of a person against his will other than to defend the higher-priority right to life is to enslave him.

The same sex marriage ruling and protected status for “sexual orientation” is the latest socialist infringement on the inalienable right to liberty. In the name of “equality,” “fairness” and even “liberty,” they attempt to give government the ownership of all property and the means to earn it.

In particular, they demand that people of conscience either deny their faith or get out of government and public activities, including business and earning a living. (For real life examples, read the earliest few comments, here.  Or here.)

People who want what they want, when they want it, and from whom they want it seem to have no problem forcing other citizens to act against their will. In order to devalue the right of conscience and religion they deny the rights in the First Amendment of the Constitution – or the very existence of inalienable rights at all.

The Board of Labor of Oregon just gave us a perfect example just this week. Brad Avakian, the judge in the Sweet Cakes Bakery case, has slapped the couple with a gag order.  He would deny them free speech as well as the free exercise of their religion.

Gag order sweet cakes

Here’s the justification for that order.

(Thanks to Kelsey Harkness!)

The Supreme Court of the United States, States and local governments cannot create a world of gumdrops and lollipops, where everyone likes everyone and everything they do. There is no right not to be inconvenienced, much less the right not to be offended. The right to liberty of anyone may not be infringed for the benefit of another person’s pursuit of happiness without significant distress to society and government.

Read the Declaration of Independence to see what happens when governments attempt to do so.

Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”

Okay, hunker down in the bunkers, y’all.

Atlas ShruggedThere is truth to be found in the multi-page soliloquies in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s opus that has won over readers in generation after generation. John Galt’s philosophy appeals to individualists and is rooted in classic liberalism that we now call libertarian or conservative.

But where Rand excelled was as an excellent observer of statism and socialism, as well as faithfully reporting the justification made by the proponents of each. Since reading Atlas Shrugged in the mid-1990’s, I’ve heard and read adults make the very claims that some of Rand’s characters make about the duty of producers and employers and the “rights” of the people who want benefits without obligations and who are willing to use the  power of guilt, class warfare and greed to control both.

However, Rand’s objectivist libertarian philosophy goes too far. She was anti-religious, anti-altruistpro-abortion and left her husband in order to live with a much younger man who was also married. In fact, her portrayals of relationships between men and women too often resemble warped rape and dominance games. Her earlier book, The Fountainhead, includes a controversial scene that Rand is said to have described as, “If it was rape, it was rape with an engraved invitation.  Fifty Shades of Gray from the ’50’s?) The fact that John Galt would hide away with fellow rich, intelligent and successful elites in a remote enclave and allow the rest of society to self-destruct is selfish and impractical.  (Rand herself certainly didn’t attempt to “go Galt.”)

If you want to understand today’s political debate, I believe you must read  Atlas Shrugged. The beginning is online, here.

TPA, TPP, TAA, and Tues. (“Fast track,” or “Obamatrade”)

Here’s where we are, according to Red State:

The Senate has already approved the TPA. On Friday, the House voted on it. The TPA portion was actually approved by a tiny majority, however it did not pass because it was tied to another provision: TAA, which failed miserably. In essence, the TAA is a multi-faced welfare program for those allegedly “hurt” by trade deals.

And,

“TPA ensures that only 51 votes are needed in order to pass the TPP. If you don’t think Obama and the Chamber of Commerce can engage in some bi-partisan vote whipping, you are living in fantasy land.”

Regulate anti-vaccine docs?

syringe justiceWe may not ever solve the problem of an irresponsible tabloid press and sensation-seeking media, since the freedom of speech is too important to infringe.  But we do have power over those we license as physicians.

Dr. Walt Larimore enters the vaccine debate in his blog, not by suggesting forced vaccination, only the regulation of physicians. I wouldn’t support the recommendation without some leeway — I’m certainly not going to approve of every vaccine without a time trial in this very diverse lab that is the United States.

However, Dr. Larimore and his guest author, Dr. Russell C. Libby, are right to raise the ethical and medic0-legal responsibility of physicians who are licensed by the State and who advocate against good science and medical standards.

 

From the article:

“State medical boards must decide if the actions of healthcare practitioners who advocate against vaccination and undermine the public health efforts of their communities warrant investigation and intervention. There are a number physicians and other licensed healthcare professionals who trivialize and discourage immunization, whether it be for philosophical, financial, or self-promotional reasons.

“When the patients they influence contract preventable disease and have bad outcomes or they cause the spread to a vulnerable population, they should be held liable for malpractice. If it is in the midst of an outbreak or epidemic, medical boards need to sanction or suspend licenses.”

 

I’ve spent quite a bit of time — especially over the last week – attempting to educate interested people (including a family member) about the safety and usefulness or efficacy of vaccines.  My motto for these arguments has always been that, “Truth will out,” and, “If we’re right, we should be able to teach and convince.”

However, within the last week, an irresponsible Texas radio host trotted out the discredited and un-licensed doctor who fabricated the MMR/autism fraud and a Canadian newspaper published a hit piece on Gardasil. (You can find them easily on Google – I won’t give them “hits” from my page.)

When licensed physicians – men and women who should know better – spread demonstrable lies, even after being found guilty of fraud or when demonstrably spreading harmful misinformation, there should be consequences.

NEJM admits “ObamaCare” isn’t “Affordable” without subsidies

The New England Journal of Medicine has some free articles you might want to read this week. (I’m afraid you will have to register – will you let me know if you do?)
The first asserts that we’re stuck with ObamaCare – but it calls ObamaCare, “ObamaCare.” The author, Jonathan Oberlander, Ph.D, also acknowledges that the only way the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) is “Affordable” is if the Federal government hands out cash subsidies. In fact, if the Supreme Court rules that the language of the law forbids subsidies in States that don’t have their own exchanges,

Here’s an excerpt:
“The calendar cannot be turned back to 2009. The ACA has made some irreversible changes in U.S. health care.

“Even if they have unified control of the federal government in 2017, Republicans will confront the reality that Obamacare has redefined U.S. health policy and the terms of the debate. In practice, future repeal legislation would probably not scrap the whole ACA, but rather remove specific provisions and remake other policies to conform to a more conservative vision. A Republican President could, through waivers and other means, undermine Obamacare in important ways, but he or she could not eliminate it.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case (King v. Burwell) challenging the legality of providing premium subsidies in federal exchanges is crucial to the GOP precisely because the chances for legislative repeal of Obamacare are so remote. The Court can seriously damage the ACA in a way that congressional Republicans cannot. A decision to prohibit subsidies for helping the uninsured to purchase coverage in the 34 states that have federally run exchanges would destabilize the health insurance marketplaces and unravel the individual and employer mandates in those states, exacerbating the already large disparities in insurance coverage among states. It would cause both a sizable increase in the uninsured population and sizable losses for the insurance industry and medical care providers as millions of Americans lost their health coverage.  Such a ruling could, in turn, produce enormous pressures on affected states and Congress to adopt measures to stave off those outcomes. Yet the ACA’s shaky political foundations would complicate policymakers’ responses, and Obamacare’s opponents would be emboldened to resist any fixes. A ruling against federal subsidies could have a spillover effect, dampening the chances for Medicaid expansion in some states. (Emphasis mine)

 

The ACA appears to be on track to destroy the financing of health care in our country, whether or not it is fully implemented.

 

Dreams of 2017

What “executive priorities” would you like to see implemented by Executive Order of the new Republican President, beginning January 20, 2017?

Even as a “dream,” it’s not easy to write all this. It’s easy to see the objections and possible pitfalls. I need help. I suggest not enforcing any law that can’t be justified in 2 to 3  sentences, using “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and a plain reading of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. No “penumbras,” no nuances. Make it plain and transparent enough that even Gruber’s criteria of  “the stupidity of the American voters” is met.

Same 90 day deadline Obama set for his immigration fiat?

Here’s a short list:

  • Close the border.  Should we deport the “over-stayers” and those on Obama’s “deferment” lists?
  • The IRS should phase out, shut down, beginning with Obamacare enforcement.
  • The Secret Service will limit it’s scope to protection of dignitaries.
  • Tell the EPA, OSHA, EEOC, HHS, Education Energy and others to plan on shutting down as States take over their functions – the way the States want to do those functions.
  • Foreign aid should be held until Congress makes new, individual appropriations.
  • Any aide that goes to abortion-favorable services stops immediately.
  • ?????

 

False “leaders” call for martial law

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/50158577

Occasionally speaking of herself in the third person, Joann Fleming, the self-proclaimed head of an East Texas “Tea Party” group, led a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday. The Fleming gang demanded that Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott order a Special Session of the Texas Legislature (cost: well over $1 Million) in order to spend the Rainy Day Fund (cost: up to $4 Billion) and that the Governor declare martial law (cost: immeasurable).

 

 

Fleming (“. . . if you’re like me, your brain will be screaming to you . . .”) shrilly  stated that the Federal government has no right to tax Texans “except when they have declared war or a state of emergency” and that “Maybe we can’t count on our State officials to protect us, either.” Calling Texas a “sanctuary State,” Fleming ignored the fact that Governor Perry “alienated some potential supporters after his push to ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in Texas.”

 
Failed 2014 Republican Congressional candidate, Katrina Pierson, who once called  a US Marine Captain “deformed” because of his war injuries, took the stage to complain that 50% of Texas’ budget comes from Federal dollars! Where does she think “federal dollars” come from?  In fact, through 2010, Texas was a “donor State.  Since then, Texas received a bit more than Texas taxpayers sent to Washington – if you count Medicare, Social Security and the money that supports the military in our State. Sounds like pay back to me.

 

 

Another member of the gang, a lawyer, said that the Governor (and Attorney General?) had been getting bad legal advice. When asked what difference this plan would make, since Texas can’t legally deport illegal aliens, the lawyer suggested that the Governor should ignore the law, order the Guard and DPS to deport illegal aliens, and bypass Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said that the worst that could happen is that President Barack Obama and Holder could sue.

 

 

Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution:

“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

 
Under the usual circumstances, the National Guard is under the command of the President of the United States, rather than control of the Governor. As explained by the (far-right wing) Red State last year, the National Guard is not the “militia” of the several States. Instead, the men and women serving in the Guard are considered ‘troops.”

 
It is true that in times of “imminent danger” the Governor may declare a state of emergency and call up the Guard for duty within the State. You may even remember that in 2010, then-US Attorney General Napolitano told Governor Perry that if he wasn’t happy with the 250 troops sent to the Texas border, he was welcome to call them up himself and pay for it.  Unfortunately, the current US Attorney General is Eric Holder.

 

 

The emotional demand by one woman, Alice Linahan of Women on the Wall, that Governor Perry and General Abbott “Show us that you’re actually different from Obama,” sums up the cognizant dissonance of the entire press conference.  The gang seems to have no understanding of how quickly President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder ignore the law, at the same moment that they condemn it.

 

IRS to Pay $50,000 in Leaking of Marriage Group’s Tax Return, Donors

No punitive damages because the IRS guy plead the Fifth!

Forget ideological issues.  This is not about marriage. It’s intimidation and theft of information that the Federal government forces us to give them at the point of guns.

The leak of confidential tax records should be a crime. Isn’t it time for criminal charges against one of these “leakers?”

 

Testifying under oath in a deposition as part of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Meisel invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself and declined to disclose the identity of his “conduit.”

To get at that fact, Eastman said, the National Organization for Marriage has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to grant immunity from prosecution to Meisel.

The $50,000 to be paid by the IRS represents actual damages NOM incurred responding to the illegal disclosure, not punitive damages, since the marriage group was unable to prove disclosure of the confidential records was deliberate after Meisel took the Fifth.

Meisel provided the marriage group’s tax data to the Human Rights Campaign, documents found as part of the investigation show. HRC is among organizations and activists advocating same-sex marriage that routinely describe NOM as a “hate group” or “anti-gay” for making the case for preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

via IRS to Pay $50,000 in Leaking of Marriage Group’s Tax Return, Donors.

Cheering free speech Supreme Court decision, Christian doctors warn of government enforcement of ideology : Resources : Christian Medical & Dental Associations

The 15,000-member Christian Medical Association, which along with other faith-based organizations had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case examining free speech and assembly rights, lauded the decision announced today in the case, McCullen v. Coakley.

“The Court simply reaffirmed that the First Amendment’s protection of peaceful speech and assembly is a cornerstone of this nation,” explained CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens. “Hopefully such decisions will begin to address the alarming growth of coercive assaults on the free speech of anyone deemed not politically correct by the government.”

The brief, submitted by the Christian Legal Society, sought to counter a Massachusetts law that had attempted to ban peaceful pro-life speech on public sidewalks, by prohibiting many citizens from entering a public street or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility.

“The fact that the government was bent on not only banning peaceful speech and assembly, but also penalizing its citizens with fines and jail, demonstrates the type of coercion that can happen when governments decide to enforce their own ideology,” stated Dr. Stevens.

via Cheering free speech Supreme Court decision, Christian doctors warn of government enforcement of ideology : Resources : Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

Medicaid backlog creates payment hassles for physicians | Medical Economics

And the docs will pay if the patient doesn’t qualify . . .

 

Though 6 million new patients have enrolled for Medicaid coverage due to expansion of the program, media reports say that nearly half of those enrollment applications have yet to be processed.

Because of the bureaucratic backlog, physicians might get stuck waiting even longer on Medicaid reimbursements for patients who have yet to receive authorization. In addition, practices may incur costs from patients who signed up for but were denied Medicaid coverage.

via Medicaid backlog creates payment hassles for physicians | Medical Economics.

Our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The First Amendment protects political speech, which includes donating what we want, when we want, and to whom we want.

The Supreme Court today did not get rid of the individual candidate limit with the ruling, only the limits on overall donations to multiple candidates. You still can’t give more than $5200 per campaign cycle to any one candidate for Federal office.

Like the signers of the Declaration of Independence, we may pledge our fortunes to political candidates – within limits.

 

Taking vs. Redistribution

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”  Alex De Tocqueville

A March 27th Op-ed in the San Antonio Express News by Nicholas Kristof calls us a “Nation of Takers,” claiming that the US government gives welfare to the wealthy with mortgage tax “subsidies” for the wealthy and lower capital gains taxes as opposed to earned income taxes.

Forget that Kristof doesn’t understand the difference between taxes – where the government takes from some – and subsidies – where the government gives tax money to the benefactors the government selects. Taxes take, subsidies and benefits give.

Kristof assumes that all money is the government’s to tax, rather than the property of individuals who have the unalienable right to earn and accumulate what they earn to provide for themselves, their dependents, and for the future when they are unable to earn. The money doesn’t belong to even the most utilitarian – or Utilitarian* – government plan for its use.

Those capital gains taxes are on money already taxed and invested for a certain period of time. If you want to encourage investment, don’t tax it. If you want to encourage hoarding on the other hand . . .
As to those yachts and beach homes – people who don’t use these dwellings as their actual homes can’t claim the mortgage deduction. In any case, thanks to the effects of the alternate minimum tax, the wealthy don’t receive any mortgage tax deduction.

*Utilitarian good is the idea that government should rule “for the greatest good.” We end up with the biggest gun, the most charismatic leader or the majority voting — and eventually, “might makes right.”

 “I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you’ve earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.” – Thomas Sowell

Feds List Lesser Prairie Chicken as Threatened

What about evolution?

The Obama administration said Thursday it is placing a grassland grouse known as the lesser prairie chicken on a list of threatened species, a move that could affect oil and gas drilling, wind farms and other activities in five central and southwestern states.

The decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service is a step below “endangered” status and allows for more flexibility in how protections for the bird will be carried out under the Endangered Species Act.

Dan Ashe, the agency’s director, said he knows the decision will be unpopular with governors in the five affected states — Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico — but said the agency was following the best science available.

“The lesser prairie-chicken is in dire straits,” Ashe said in an interview. “The bird is in decline and has been in decline for more than a decade.”

The prairie chicken, a type of grouse known for its colorful neck plume and stout build, has lost more than 80 percent of its traditional habitat, mostly because of human activity such as oil and gas drilling, ranching and construction of power lines and wind turbines, Ashe said. The bird, which weighs from 1-1/2 to 2 pounds, has also been severely impacted by the region’s ongoing drought.

Biologists say a major problem is that prairie chickens fear tall structures, where predators such as hawks can perch and spot them. Wind turbines, electricity transmission towers and drilling rigs are generally the tallest objects on the plains.

via Feds List Lesser Prairie Chicken as Threatened – ABC News.

Gordon Crovitz: Drones Cleared for Takeoff – WSJ.com

A victory for less regulation in our lives. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

This month a federal administrative judge held that the FAA has no legal authority to meddle in the market and dismissed a fine levied against an operator who defied regulators by getting paid to use a drone to film the University of Virginia campus. Judge Patrick Geraghty of the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the agency had only issued internal guidance on drones and hadn’t followed any process to apply restrictions to the public. He ridiculed the FAA’s broad assertion of power to regulate drones by saying the agency could use the same argument arbitrarily to block “a flight in the air of a paper aircraft, or a toy balsa wood glider.”

via Gordon Crovitz: Drones Cleared for Takeoff – WSJ.com.

Untested Waters (TMA on ObamaCare)

From the Texas Medical Association website:

Both Texas Oncology and ARC, for example, already participated in most major health plans in Texas before the launch of the exchange. Because not all of those insurers explicitly invited Texas Oncology to join their new marketplace networks, the group was combing through its contracts and contacting carriers to find out how to opt out of the exchange plans. All of ARC\’s existing contracts require insurers to renegotiate with the group before including it in any new products or networks. Some payers never approached the group; others came back with lower fee schedules, which ARC declined. On the other hand, 27 percent of respondents in the MGMA survey said they are participating in the exchange because their existing contract terms required them to participate in all of an insurers\’ products under so-called \”all products\” clauses.

Because a number of Dr. Buckingham\’s contracts include such clauses, the six-physician practice, Eye Physicians of Austin, faces the prospect of renegotiation in order to opt out of certain exchange plans.

\”To me, my hands are tied, and they are making me jump off of a plank I don\’t want to jump off of. And it\’s an expensive process, and it interrupts patient care,\” she said.

via Untested Waters.

Food Stamp Enrollment Growth (with Interactive Map)

If Federal Food Stamps Map WSJIf the Federal government increases spending and decreases limits, is it surprising that people take advantage of it?

If you’re concerned about the news that the Federal food stamp program funding will be cut 5%, take a look at this map from the June, 2013 Wall Street Journal, showing the percentage of population in each state which receives Federal food stamps.

It is accompanied by a graph of growth of food stamp enrollment depicting periods of enrollment. Food stamp growthThat bright red line is Texas’ growth, which is nearly parallel with the US average, shown as a grey-green line. (Take a look at the annual spikes of Alaska’s enrollment, which I guess is due to the disbursement of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.)

But take a look at the growth since the “Stimulus” was passed by the Dem-controlled House and Senate, nearly doubling funds for food stamps and increasing the number of recipients from 28 million to 48 million.Food stamp growth 2008 2012Since the increase in enrollment has been over 70%, that 5% cut in payments will not bring the spending levels back to pre-recession levels. Wouldn’t it make sense to tighten up on the eligibility requirements, rather than make an across-the-board cut?

 

Unions to win delay of ObamaCare tax (Not the rest of us, tho’)

Labor unions are poised to score the delay of an ObamaCare tax in the bipartisan budget deal emerging in the Senate.

The bargain under negotiation would make small adjustments to the healthcare law, including delaying the law\’s reinsurance fee for one year. The three-year tax is meant to generate revenue that will stabilize premiums on the individual market as sick patients enter the risk pool.

via Unions poised to win delay of ObamaCare tax in budget deal – The Hill’s Healthwatch.

“Welcome to the Party, Pal” | The Northern Right

Amen to this:

“So what do we Americans do with a feral, out of control administration, misusing and abusing their authority? Well, we can start transferring power and authority out of Washington DC back to the many states. Doing this with all public lands, National Parks, National Forests, Wilderness Areas, National Monuments and everything else the feds own and operate would be a good first start. Follow it up with moving all licensing and permitting back to the states.”

“Welcome to the Party, Pal” | The Northern Right.

A tax for doing nothing

From a blurb on Taranto’s The Best of the Web Today, today:

After the court’s ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius, the mandate, of course, is not an actual legal command, but, as Chief Justice John Roberts put it, merely the establishment of a “a condition–not owning health insurance–that triggers a tax–the required payment to the IRS.”

Every time I think of Justice John Robert’s declaration that the ObamaCare individual mandate is does not carry an individual penalty, but rather, a tax, I become angry. It makes as much sense as his messing up the Oath of Office on January 20, 2009 followed a day later with the “real” oath.

I still don’t get Robert’s logic. It’s a tax, because you only pay fines when you commit an act. Or is it a tax because you pay the IRS?   Whatever, in order to not pay, you have to sign up for the exchanges, which then “ping” the IRS to find out about your income.

Luckily, I have a bit of an attention deficit.*  So, then I start thinking about how much Congress should owe the rest of us because they do nothing – or at least not what we want. The motto ought to be, “It ain’t fine!”

* (: It’s not a disorder if it helps you get through the day.)

 

UnitedHealthcare drops physicians from Medicare plan – Financial Mines

“Keep your doctor?” NOT!

Physicians across the state are reeling after they were informed that they will no longer be participants in a popular Medicare program.

UnitedHealthcare sent a letter dated Oct. 2 to 810 primary care physicians and 1,440 physician specialists, telling them that the separation from its Medicare Advantage network would be effective Feb. 1, 2014.

The business, a unit of Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group, said affected physicians have the right to appeal and told them that their agreements for other UnitedHealthcare networks will not be impacted.

The notification came as a surprise to the Fairfield Medical Association, which counts 1,499 physicians in its ranks.

“They’re letting 19 percent of the physicians in the network go,” said Mark Thompson, executive director of the association. “This is where insurance companies are using insurance contracts to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.”

via UnitedHealthcare drops physicians from Medicare plan – Financial Mines.

ObamaCare begins to “Ping” the IRS for information

What might have been missed in all the emotional media coverage about the troubles people are having with the ObamaCare exchanges and the news that the IRS official shared tax information with the WhiteHouse:

Hall Ingram said a key piece of the healthcare law’s new infrastructure — the federal “data hub” — is working well.

When consumers apply for insurance and tax subsidies through an exchange, the exchange uses the data hub to draw information from several state and federal agencies to confirm applicants’ identity and calculate the subsidies they can receive.

Exchanges have successfully pinged the IRS’s servers to request income information about applicants, and the IRS has been able to respond, she said.

“As far as we can tell, and we are looking on a daily basis, it\’s operating well,” Hall Ingram said.

via GOP grills IRS’s ObamaCare chief – The Hill’s Healthwatch.

Obama Stumbles Despite Friendly Press « Commentary Magazine

After explaining his “history,” of posturing and hiding unpopular legislation by attaching it to another Bill, President Obama truly stumbles:

“And you know, we don’t get to select which programs we implement or not.”

via Obama Stumbles Despite Friendly Press « Commentary Magazine.

Iguess it depends on the meaning of “select,” because as the article notes,

“Obama chooses which parts of which laws he wants to implement and enforce at will, as if Congress were a supercommittee brainstorming ideas rather than a coequal branch passing laws . . “

‘Gestapo’ tactics meet senior citizens at Yellowstone » Local News » NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Not even allowed to take pictures!

Rangers systematically sent visitors out of the park, though some groups that had hotel reservations — such as Vaillancourt’s — were allowed to stay for two days. Those two days started out on a sour note, she said.

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

via ‘Gestapo’ tactics meet senior citizens at Yellowstone » Local News » NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA.

Even the CDC is victim to the #ShutDown #TemperTantrum!

Someone was paid to put this notice on the Centers for Disease Control website! On the home page, it’s on a red background! (But don’t worry: they also have a reminder to sign up for ObamaCare.)

Due to the lapse in government funding, only web sites supporting excepted functions will be updated unless otherwise funded. As a result, the information on this website may not be up to date, the transactions submitted via the website may not be processed, and the agency may not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted.

Updates regarding government operating status and resumption of normal operations can be found at http://www.usa.gov.

via CDC – Diabetes Public Health Resource – Data & Trends.

Update, 7:30 PM 10/7/13: The National Institutes of Health also has a disclaimer.

1996: Virgin Islands beach reopened

Judge orders Virgin Islands beach reopened

January 4, 1996

Web posted at: 12:45 a.m. EST

ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands (CNN) — A federal judge Wednesday ordered the National Park Service to reopen the Buck Island Reef National Monument despite the ongoing federal budget crisis.

Two Virgin Island residents sued in federal district court to have the park reopened, arguing they were being hurt by the closure of the beach at Buck Island. They said the shutdown had denied them the ability of “freely enjoying a cherished natural resource.” They further argued that the Park Service had violated the federal Open Shorelines Act by closing the beach.

The National Park Service argued it had no choice because the budget crisis had forced it to reduce the normal staff of “two to three employees” to one employee and one volunteer.

via CNN – Virgin Islands beach reopened – Jan. 4, 1995.

Feds “own” or “run” too much – Update

Tennessee Smokeys 2 2005It’s not just that this is the first time that US citizens have been barred from the Lincoln Memorial due to a government shutdown, the National Parks service is barring us from  scenic drives and overlooks on public and state highways, open beaches and the waters around them, and private businesses that are paying tenants of “government” lands and waters.

One former Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, flatly states that these decisions are political and most likely being made in the White House.

Perhaps, instead of blaming one Party or another (or increasing government involvement in something as vital and intimate as the delivery of medical care), it’s time to decide whether our government is responsible enough to own and control so much of our lands.

Update: more closings

1. The City Tavern in Philadelphia, because the Feds own the building, not the business.

2.Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge, which leases land in Cape Cod National Seashore.

3. All sorts of fishing, rafting and hiking. Search the news on any of these topics – there are too many to post.

4. Government sponsored travel, such as the President’s Asian trip. But it also will block scientific conferences. 

Edited Oct 4, 2013 at 2 PM to change the picture to one that I own.

White House Ordering Hundreds of Privately Run, Privately Funded Parks to Close

The order to shut down business that pay money to the Federal government rather than cost money came from ” ‘above the department’, which I presume means the White House” . . .

“My company, based in North Phoenix, operates nearly over 100 US Forest Service campgrounds and day use areas under concession contract. Yesterday, as in all past government shutdowns, the Department of Agriculture and US Forest Service confirmed we would stay open during the government shutdown. This makes total sense, since our operations are self-sufficient (we are fully funded by user fees at the gate), we get no federal funds, we employ no government workers on these sites, and we actually pay rent into the Treasury.”

via The PJ Tatler » BREAKING: White House Ordering Hundreds of Privately Run, Privately Funded Parks to Close.

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