Friday, July 26, 2013

The Drama in Washington – ObamaCare to Fund or Not to Fund that is the question. The answer is simple – Pull the Plug!

Flashback 20010 - History - it repeats itself - image

It’s as if the nation (or those paying attention) are watching a Shakespearian comedy play out in the nation’s capital. Or perhaps a tragedy – depending upon one’s point of view. The Affordable Health Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, is not particularly popular with a good percentage of the populace, while those who are clueless about the content, or cannot see the forest through the local broadcast news, may love it- until it is fully in effect.

The problems surrounding the beheamoth of a bill that was pushed thorugh with few reading the contents, if any of the nations Reprepsenatives actually ahd the time to read it prior to it’s passages are set to affect individuals and businesses, to varying degrees, with a negative, rather than positive impact. Those with health insurance in place are looking at skyrocketing costs, while those without, will fact both the high price of the exchanges, as well as penalties enforced by the IRS if they cannot afford the exchange insurance. Businesses are feeling the pinch of new taxes as well as complying with the ACT for employees – they are reducing employee hours, and or simply not hiring. Never mind the arbitrary rules applied across the board to groups who may or may not want to participate and have an in somewhere in DC

Then you have the GOP –the majority of which were against the bill in the first place, due to a popular rising up against the Bill, who now is faced with an option to defund the program and stop it in its tracks –thereby doing the general public a favor. However, that is something that they are clearly not concerned with more than they are their chances for reelection. The article in Politico headlined GOP feuds over ObamaCare”, sums it up nicely. The Gist: The usual more Libertarian leaning members of the GOP are more concerned with delivery justice that holding onto “power”, while those who are entrenched so deeply in Washington, are more interested in fallacious polling, special interest groups and peer pressure, than doing what would be best for the nation. (Op-ed included with Politico’s article.)

Therefore, what is necessary, but unlikely, is a popular uprising against both Democrat and Republican Senators and Congressional Representatives who end up saddling the nation with this nonsense. The way this is most likely to occur will be through the rising up of individuals vowing to repeal the act, regardless of how much has been invested in the system. Of course, they have to put it into effect to truly understand how widely unpopular universal health care will be across the board – so, to wit, they are still as clueless as the day the signed it in 2009.

The way to defund is simple – Congress holds the keys to the Governments purse strings – this was written into the Constitution in the event some idiots decided to push through legislation that was not in the best interest of the nation as a whole – those in Congress would be able to put the skids on anything like this by simply not paying for it.

Time to pull the plug, and shut down the government – not merely threaten to do so, actually just shut it down – the result: three to four weeks of blissful peace and quiet from those elites who believe they own the nation. (Or are akin to the Prince and Princesses of DC). This has occurred before with outstanding results and little to no harm to the general populace (The harm was in listening to the evening news, interviewing those in the government who were whining heavily.) May some services be interrupted, certainly. Do we really care if some study of blueberries in Maine doesn’t get funded for a few weeks?

To those on both sides of the aisle, who understand this is a purely bad bill, but are concerned that they may not get to be screaming popular should the defund by shutting down the government – grow a pair. If not now, then perhaps, when writing in one’s memoirs of the time they spent in Washington, prior to losing the next election and returning home – they would wish they had.

To those standing up for what is right (and not politically, ethically), especially Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee, thank you. The left and the media and those McCain’s of the GOP may be calling you all kinds of names, however, there is a point where being popular with those in DC and the media elite, is not as important as being popular with the people. The aforementioned are the smart guys in DC – they understand how they got there – and anyone smart enough to understand people combined with politics should be admired- The rest of those who don’t, really shouldn’t be in their current positions. Of course this is just the opinion of one person from Massachusetts, who has seen the effect of the Health care law here – where those without the ability to pay for what amounts to the proposed exchanges, either pay the fine as it is less expensive, or get a waiver due to being the working poor. In addition the want ads are chock full of requests for physicians and surgeons in hospitals statewide – no need to be licensed at the moment, just able to get one – there is a growing desperation for caregivers. Therefore fewer insured, the government makes more money from fees (taxes) for noncompliance and individuals find the quality of healthcare less than stellar. It’s sold somewhat differently – however, the reality of this program - bites. This is what has been exported nationwide.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

President George H Bush – Acts of Kindness show the Mettle of a Man

Former President George H.W. Bush - image abc news

There is so little “good” or “heartwarming” news one finds on the top of trends, either on-line, in broadcast or print. In general, the daily bombardment of scandal, death, and dirty deeds, is forefront and foremost in the delivery of the news. Therefore, when on reads a heartwarming story, a decent story, it’s worth taking a look. Thus is the case with what has taken place with a former President - Former President George H. Bush, has done, what most would consider a great act of kindness – a 2 year old cancer patient, is the subject of more than a bit of press, due to the eldest Bush shaving his head “in solidarity “with this child. (CBS News). There are great men who do use their positions of power and wealth, to promote causes, and there are others, who, do so quietly and behind the scenes, yet, it is with such a great show of kindness, with an object to bring awareness and raise funds that brings high praise to the man.

To the former President – job well done.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What’s in a survey – God finds support for Creation with 62% in Polling – Creationism versus Theory – Is there really a Logic to those opposed?

Creationism - image:


Darwin's Theory of Evolution - image the GuardianUK

A new poll released by CBS suggests that a majority of Americans believe God had a hand in creating humanity – with 37 percent believing in direct intervention in creating humankind, 24 percent believing in a combined Darwinian theory – with God’s guiding hand, and a growing portion of the nation believing that God had no hand in the process whatsoever –performing the evolutionary theory. The poll was conducted by YouGov. (CBSLocal Washington).

CBS also noted the teaching of creationism was approved by 40 percent, while 32 percent were opposed and the balance was unsure (CBS). One has to understand the in any basic science course, regardless of which level of education, primary, secondary or higher education, the Theory of Evolution is taught as fact. When on applies logic to the concept of a Theory, one understands that it is a proposal that a specific set of data might have occurred, rather than cold hard fact. Therefore, as there is little proof that the Theory of Evolution is standing on solid ground; one might argue that the Study of Creationism holds as much water as Darwin’s theory. The difference, one is based on religion, the other on a scientific theory – therefore, if one were an atheist, but applying logic, the only conclusion that would be feasible in this debate between two schools – they are equally unexplained.

If one is religious in any form, and regardless of their religious bent, the fact that God had a hand in the creation of mankind is prevalent. They might entertain a theory, but understand it as a theory – not fact. On the other hand, those so opposed to any sort of belief in religion (organized or otherwise) will tend to cry foul more loudly, as God forbid, religion would ever step foot in a public square! This is regardless of the fact that they rely heavily on a theory to explain their very existence! Of course, the public square and religion in the United States is misunderstood completely by those who also eschew the existence of God in the first place. The U.S. Constitution does not state that there should be no religion, rather protects the individual’s right to practice their religion, and prevents the establishment of a national religion. It amazes when those who claim to be atheist, assert their first amendments rights as it pertains to religion – as they have claim to have no religion whatsoever. What they do have is the right not to have a religion, rather than the right to remove other religions from the public square. That would also be, logically, unconstitutional, as the removal of a Christmas Tree, or Menorah, from the town square, would prevent those who practice said religions from freely practicing their first amendment rights.

The same argument can be applied in the public schools, especially as regards to teaching two versions of creationism – one Biblically based, for those who believe, and one that is a theory, for those who choose not to believe in anything.

What this poll tells us with the underlying emphasis on religion versus secular theory, is the fact that this nation, like no other, is a tolerant nation, protected by a document that has stood the test of time, and guarantees the liberty to do as one chooses, as long as one does not trample on the rights of others.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What’s in a Poll? McClatchy-Marist finds Obama Job Approval Plummeting – Congress at bottom, Two-Thirds Disapprove of Democrats.- When Will Voters Wise Up?

A new McClatchy-Marist poll released yesterday, pretty much sums up the salient fact that a majority of American’s don’t particularly like their elected officials. The poll suggests that Obama’s numbers are “still higher than Congress”, but notes that the 41% approval is the lowest since “September of 2011”, yet remind readers that he still managed to get the popular vote by (a somewhat anemic) 51%.

Apparently, the nation is paying attention to the “controversies” surrounding the White House (without mentioning the IRS, the NSA, Benghazi, ad naseum), and McClatchy further suggests that the President does best when he talks about the economy – so he’s going to give some speeches. Of course, McClatchy also found that only 37% of those polled actually trusts the President with the economy, therefore, it’s somewhat difficult to see the silver-lining – yet they do.

The fact that Congress fares worse does not mitigate the fact that all of D.C. is viewed with a bit of wariness by those who sent their Congressional Representatives and Senators to the Golden City to do their bidding. Although McClatchy underscores that the Republican’s are in trouble, due to the fact that Congressional members polled at a low point and that those Republicans are in control of Congress. One can’t help but wonder where those Republican’s polled against the dismal numbers that the Democrats received (1 out of 3 approve of the job Democrats are doing.) One has to guess it is close, unless of course they weren’t polling many Libertarians.

Suffice it to say, that despite the IRS attempting to blot out the Tea Party, (with a little help from MSNBC), the regular folk apparently are becoming “Fed Up”. Obamacare also is weighing heavily as more details come out about the bill Pelosi famously spoke, “ “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it....” (Washington Post). From skyrocketing premiums, to layoffs and part-time positions only as employers try to evade the heavy fees, to the IRS in charge of enforcement, and the fact that the Data Hub program designed to oversee all data, and sign-up those for Obamacare, will be staffed by individuals who are less than qualified:

In June, the Government Accountability Office reported that HHS is considering allowing navigators to assist with outreach and enrollment tasks even before completing their formal training. The reason? Like so much of Obamacare, the navigators program is behind schedule and drowning in its own complexity.

This spring, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee lawyers were also told by HHS that, despite the fact that navigators will have access to sensitive data such as Social Security numbers and tax returns, there will be no criminal background checks required for them. Indeed, they won’t even have to have high-school diplomas.

But HHS is unconcerned. It points out that navigators will have to take a 20–30 hour online course about how the 1,200-page law works, which, given its demonstrated complexity, is like giving someone a first-aid course and then making him a med-school professor. “I want to assure you and all Americans that, when they fill out their [health-insurance] marketplace applications, they can trust the information they’re providing is protected,” said Marilyn Tavenner, head of HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at a congressional hearing last week”
(Weekly Standard)

Now that’s comforting. The hope is that those in Washington will realize what a mess this system is and repeal it entirely, of course, that might not be the case as lobbyist come in all shapes, sizes, and well, family members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats alike.

Watch for more poll numbers dropping in coming months. The question now remains: “Will the general public, including those “low information voters”, get a grip and vote incumbents out of office, especially those who’ve made a career out of a job meant to be a public service? That remains to be seen – but odds aren’t good.

A side note: From the LA times, Sarah Palin is remembered for being right about those darn Death Panels – a shocking op-ed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Detroit Debt and Pension Funding – First in a Series of Domino’s to Fall

From the website: Slums in the USA at

The City of Detroit declaring bankruptcy should not come as a shock to the nation nor the people who live in Motor City – the signs of a problem that was out of control were there for all to see. As recently as May of last year, the City of Detroit cut the street lights to the highest crime areas in an effort to cut some of the budget(Degrees). In that case, the argument was that the City was unable to attract private businesses – in essence depending upon what was left of the tax base to bolster up the massive public employees pensions, and the mismanagement that had taken place for decades.

Now, as the City tries to get out from under, by eliminating payments to pensioners, it appears that the media has finally gotten wind of the fact that there may be a problem – by looking at the human interest side of the “story”.

The Washington Post headlines: “After Detroit bankruptcy filing, city retirees on edge as they face pension cuts”. There are 20,000 retirees about to lose their pensions, with no other recourses available. The reason:” Of Detroit’s overall debt, about half — $9.2 billion — represents pension and health benefits that the city has promised retirees but that it now says it does not have enough money to fully pay.”

The Washington Post, somewhat erroneously blames fear and prejudice for the fiscal nightmare facing Detroit – In an op-ed “White Flight and Detroit’s Decline”, the premise of race riots in the 1960’s, and the resultant flight of “white” residents either due to fear or prejudice is partly to blame. However, one might want to take a look at the fact that the City has been bleeding jobs and businesses for decades, one of the chief elements in maintaining some sort of balancing act. One might look to Massachusetts, where the unemployment rate is rising again; taxes are on the docket, again, and those residents that are packing up for more tax friendly, employment friendly environments. Texas being the first destination, as well as border states such as New Hampshire, where personal taxes are lower and there is more opportunity. It makes sense that when opportunities are not available, regardless of race or ethnicity, individuals move.

What might have helped Detroit? What might help the other cities across the U.S. that are headed in the same direction? The answer: reasonable pensions and possibly a state appointed budget overseer for cities that show the first sign of decline. The Detroit Free Press names a few in its article: ”Detroit not alone under mountain of long-term debt” in which the following cities are discussed as being in the “same situation” as the Motor City: Cincinnati and Baltimore, along with LA and Chicago: “Chicago recently saw its credit rating downgraded because of a $19-billion unfunded pension liability that the ratings service Moody’s puts closer to $36 billion. And Los Angeles could be facing a liability of more than $30 billion, by some estimates.”.

The years of public officials promising hefty pensions in return for votes has finally come home to roost – and unfortunately, so many of those who rely solely on public pension funds, are now facing severe hardships. Each city that is faced with public employee pensions that are not in line with the public sector, regardless of size, should look towards renegotiating union contracts going forward, in order to stop the bleeding – and insure that their employees are offered a 401K or similar vehicle, not only as an addition to their “promised pension” but as a safeguard in the event that the City goes “bust” and can no longer fund the pension.

It is the same story as that being played over in Europe, Greece in particular, where public pensions destroyed the economy. The fact of the matter is that without private enterprises, and seven years of skyrocketing unemployment, one might think that the Federal Government, and those legislators and Senators which the people have sent to DC, would be looking closely at any programs that overly burden the private sector –either now, or in the near future (see: disaster that is Obamacare).

One might also suggest seeking advice from the management of cities, perhaps not that large, where there is a business friendly environment (See Texas), where there are jobs, as well as fiscal responsibility of the part of the City government.

In the case of Detroit, the writing was on the wall, yet, the proverbial can kept on being kicked down the long road to bankruptcy. Playing Monday morning quarterback, had the City government offered the alternative of a 401K to those union members, (and regardless of the brouhaha it would have caused), cut local business taxes, and sought the advice of solvent Cities, this would not have occurred. One wonders where, as those who are facing a loss in pension, would have recourse, given a bankrupt City – without the income from private enterprise, they simply don’t have the tax base to break even, let alone fund pensions.

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