Weekly Musing 9-29-13
A TRIBUTE TO MARGARET THATCHER: On the eve of the British Conservative Party’s National Convention, they released a wonderful tribute to the “Iron Lady” entitled “Our Maggie”
OBAMACARE: A majority of Americans oppose it. Many Democrats don’t like it. Labor Unions are lining up to get exemptions (political cronyism) and TAXPAYERS will pay. 85% will suffer, to supposedly help the 15% uninsured with a program that doesn’t work!
EXEMPT CONGRESS & OBAMA: The most HYPOCRITICAL aspect of all of this is that Congress, President Obama and his family are exempt. NOT you and me…but the same Democrats (all & only Democrats) who passed Obamacare, exempt themselves! America should be outraged!
BUDGET CONTINUING RESOLUTION PASSES: On a straight party vote, Democrats in the Senate stripped the “de-funding” of Obamacare from the House pass budget. I say the House Republicans should insert the “Vitter Amendment” that forces Congress to live by Obamacare…ADD the President and his family…and send it back to the Senate.
That’s a fight worth having!
RHINO’s: Still debating the issue…some took exception to my comments on Mackinac Island…while others agreed. I had a chance to address the Mackinac Leadership on Conference and made a point about growing our party and the need for unity to support our ultimate nominees. “Republicans in Nomination Only” are those who use the party to support ONLY “their” candidates, and if they are NOT nominated, they then sit on the sideline in protest and therefore help Democrats win elections. NO thanks…we don’t need those RINO’s in our party!
My point, fight our fights in primaries and/or conventions, but once we have a nominee – lets get behind them because inevitably they are better than the Democrats.
MI U.S. SENATE RACE: Former SOS Terri Lynn Land was front and center at the Mackinac Leadership Conference as national leaders referred to Michigan as the “51st seat” if Republicans are to have a shot at winning the Senate in 2014. I did personally talk to Dr. Rob Steele about his exploratory process and encouraged him to make a decision on way or the other asap. He told me he hoped to have a final decision in October. This is a unique opportunity for Michigan Republicans and we can’t afford to lose any time moving forward!
SYRIA: Still a mess…nothing has changed. Clearly becoming a proxy was ONLY because we are allowing it to be so. At some stage we will have to deal with Iran, but if Iran is the problem than stop playing games everywhere else. Stay OUT of Syria!
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The Bogus Case for “Compromise” Conviction is not a political liability
A potential shutdown over the continuing resolution or the debt ceiling would be fine if the issue happened to move the liberal soul. But Republicans can’t possibly have a legitimate reason to want to defund/delay/defeat/de-anything Obamacare. The GOP opposes the law because of an insatiable impulse to deny millions of poor Americans health insurance. If Hayes were to concede that genuine objections existed – however misguided he might find them – he’d also be conceding that conservatives have a purpose beyond his own cartoon depiction of free-market beliefs.
In this cartoon the GOP are obstructionists, and that’s that. When Reid says any Republican House budget he dislikes is “dead on arrival” how many non-partisan publications will call him out on his uncompromising position? When the president states that negotiating with Republicans over debt ceiling “is not going to happen” how many reporters are going to point out that his stubbornness could potentially lead to a government shutdown?
Fact is, the only way for the minority GOP can collect any crumbs of concession is to trigger showdowns. The big trick is winning them. Whether Republicans have the right strategic ideas to achieve is another discussion. But with both parties drifting towards ideological purity over the past decade, there is no other way to forge compromise without some level of anguish. There has to be a showdown on every major issue because there is less common ground to work with. That’s not necessarily unhealthy.
Why should Congress get special exemption under Obamacare? Add Obama & his family!
Vitter is determined to force his fellow senators to do something many don’t want to do: Vote on whether the law, specifically Obamacare, applies to members of Congress and their staff.
Back in 2009, when Democrats were writing the massive new national health care scheme, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley offered an amendment. Obamacare created exchanges through which millions of Americans would purchase “affordable” health coverage. Grassley’s amendment simply required lawmakers, staff, and some in the executive branch to get their insurance through the exchanges, too.
That has caused Democratic panic as the formal arrival of Obamacare nears. Right now, all lawmakers and staff are entitled to enjoy generously-subsidized coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan. Why give up that subsidy and go on the exchanges like any average American?
But that’s the law. It could be amended, but Democrats, who voted unanimously for Obamacare, couldn’t very well expect much help from Republicans, who voted unanimously against it. So over the summer Democrats asked President Obama to simply create an Obamacare exception for Capitol Hill.
Not long after — presto!
Americans’ Belief That Gov’t Is Too Powerful at Record Level
Six in 10 Americans (60%) believe the federal government has too much power, one percentage point above the previous high recorded in September 2010. At least half of Americans since 2005 have said the government has too much power. Thirty-two percent now say the government has the right amount of power. Few say it has too little power.
Democrats Need to Keep an Eye on Republican-Tilting Independent Voters
A consistent topic in this column so far this year has been discussing what kind of election the 2014 midterm election will be and what it will be about. My theory has been that it could either be a continuation of the same GOP brand and image problems exhibited in 2012, particularly with women, younger, minority, and self-described moderate voters, or it could fit the pattern of second-term midterm elections since World War II, in which five out of six times, the party holding the White House has gotten clobbered in the House or Senate, or both. During second terms, a fatigue tends to set in. Voters tire of the sitting president, and they become increasingly open to change or to sending a message. Other analysts have framed the question of 2014 slightly differently: Will this election be a reflection of a very changed America and a rejection of the GOP’s recent direction? Or will it be a referendum, in a highly pejorative sense, on President Obama, Democrats, and health care reform, as we saw in 2010? Both theories end up in essentially the same place.
Obviously, the events of the coming month could very well further define the contours of next year’s elections. Most believe that if Republicans play their hand badly, it will dramatically increase the odds of the former scenario; some GOP strategists feel that if they can just get through the next month or so without self-inflicted wounds, then negative reactions to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will help steer the public their way. Polls are consistently showing that while more voters disapprove than approve of the ACA, they don’t hate it enough to shut the government down over it, although many in the GOP base think otherwise.
The Late, Great Middle Class under Obamanomics
Obama promised to restore the middle class. In truth, he has enacted the very policies that have done it the most damage in years. That paradox may explain why his base of support remains the very rich and the very poor. Goldman Sachs, federal bureaucrats, and aid recipients are helped in a way that the strapped hardware-store owner, Starbucks barista, and part-time welder are not.
For all the talk of infrastructure or stimulus, the latest $6 trillion in federal borrowing seems to have been wasted on bailing out insider banks and green companies, growing the federal work force, regulating the private sector into stasis, and subsidizing those who are not working.
American Banana Republic The decay of a free society doesn’t happen overnight, but we’re getting there.
Still, Obama is right. We’re not a banana republic, if only because the debt of banana republics is denominated in a currency other than their own — i.e., the U.S. dollar. When you’re the guys who print the global currency, you can run up debts undreamt of by your average generalissimo. As Obama explained in another of his recent speeches, “Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt.” I won’t even pretend to know what he and his speechwriters meant by that one, but the fact that raising the debt ceiling “has been done over a hundred times” does suggest that spending more than it takes in is now a permanent feature of American government. And no one has plans to do anything about it. Which is certainly banana republic-esque.
Jimmy Carter Obama
The Syrian crisis has made that plain. Recent US diplomacy has seemed amateurish and naive. Obama’s handling of the Syrian crisis increasingly evokes Jimmy Carter’s handling of the Iranian hostage crisis 33 years ago, particularly the failed operation in 1980 to rescue the Americans abducted following the takeover of the US embassy in November 1979. Then, too, hesitation seemed to prevail over determination, contributing to the failure of the mission.
Carter was a somewhat bland engineer, whereas Obama is a charismatic lawyer. Yet they seem to share a fundamental indecisiveness in their approach to world affairs. Carter had difficulty choosing between the muscular line of his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the more moderate approach of his secretary of state, Cyrus Vance.
By contrast, there are no fundamental disagreements among Obama’s closest foreign-policy advisers – Susan Rice, the national security adviser, Samantha Power, who succeeded Rice as US Ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of State John Kerry. Instead, it is Obama himself who seems to be constantly hesitating. The divisions are not among his advisers, but within his own mind.
Congress can’t kill the entitlement state. Only the American people can.
Enacted with zero Republican votes, ObamaCare is the solely owned creation of the Democrats’ belief in their own limitless powers to fashion goodness out of legislated entitlements. Sometimes social experiments go wrong. In the end, the only one who supported Frankenstein was Dr. Frankenstein. The Democrats in 2014 should by all means be asked relentlessly to defend their monster.
Republicans and conservatives, instead of tilting at the defunding windmill, should be working now to present the American people with the policy ideas that will emerge inevitably when ObamaCare’s declines. The system of private insurance exchanges being adopted by the likes of Walgreens suggests a parallel alternative to ObamaCare may be happening already.
If Republicans feel they must “do something” now, they could get behind Sen. David Vitter’s measure to force Congress to enter the burning ObamaCare castle along with the rest of the American people. Come 2017, they can repeal the ruins.
The discrediting of the entitlement state begins next Tuesday. Let it happen.
ObamaCare mess all Dems’ doing
The standard line from Democrats is that Congress passed ObamaCare and it’s the law of the land, end of discussion. That disguises the ugly truth about how the Affordable Care Act became law, why it’s running into so many problems, and why it is passionately hated by conservatives.
Consider a little history: The Social Security Act was enacted in 1935 with three times as many GOP yes votes as nays in the Senate and five times more yes ballots than nos in the House. In 1965, with President Lyndon Johnson working his masterly legislative prowess, nearly half of Senate Republicans backed Medicare, and in the House it got more GOP yes votes than no votes.
Contrast that to ObamaCare — it passed without a Republican vote for it in the Senate or House.
The ObamaCare Wars Are Just Starting
The ObamaCare fight is turning hot and heavy. House Republicans have made an implausible threat to shut down the government to defund ObamaCare, but a plausible motive is to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (which already exists in abundance regarding ObamaCare) during the crucial sign-up period that begins next month.
On the flip side, the administration’s last-minute decision not to require income documentation in the first year can only do wonders for enrollment. A handy Kaiser Family Foundation calculator shows how: A single person who estimates his 2014 income as $33,000 would get a measly $6. Change the estimate to $30,000 and, hey, get $507.
This is war—turning sectors of the economy into partisan battlefields is a cost of their agenda that liberals, with their pure faith in “programs,” never factor in. But wars also have a way of leading to unexpected outcomes.
Consider the speed with which Trader Joe’s, a grocery chain, went from goat to hero in the media last week for canceling insurance coverage for part-time workers. Bad Trader Joe’s. But the chain would also give them $500 each to buy health insurance on an ObamaCare exchange, which would actually be a better deal for most employees. Good Trader Joe’s.
Obama Lied, My Health Plan Died
Like an estimated 22 million other Americans, I am a self-employed small-business owner who buys health insurance for my family directly on the individual market. We have a high-deductible PPO plan that allows us to choose from a wide range of doctors.
Or rather, we had such a plan.
Last week, our family received notice from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield of Colorado that we can no longer keep the plan we like because of “changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA).” The letter informed us that “(t)o meet the requirements of the new laws, your current plan can no longer be continued beyond your 2014 renewal date.”
In short: Obama lied. My health plan died.
Obamacare Will Increase Avg. Individual-Market Insurance Premiums By 99% For Men, 62% For Women
Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men.
The bottom line: Obamacare makes insurance less affordable
For months, we’ve heard about how Obamacare’s trillions in health care subsidies were going to save America from rate shock. It’s not true. If you shop for coverage on your own, you’re likely to see your rates go up, even after accounting for the impact of pre-existing conditions, even after accounting for the impact of subsidies.
The Obama administration knows this, which is why its 15-page report makes no mention of premiums for insurance available on today’s market. Silence, they say, speaks louder than words. HHS’ silence on the difference between Obamacare’s insurance premiums and those available today tell you everything you need to know. Rates are going higher. And if you’re healthy, or you’re young, the Obama administration expects you to do your duty and pay up.
State reliance on federal dollars near all-time high
Some stunning and interesting figures…on where your “borrowed” tax dollars are going.
Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media
Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.
It doesn’t take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”.
He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.
Don’t even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would” – or the death of Osama bin Laden. “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.
Hillary in Midair
For four years, Hillary Rodham Clinton flew around the world as President Barack Obama’s secretary of State, while her husband, the former president Bill Clinton, lived a parallel life of speeches and conferences in other hemispheres. They communicated almost entirely by phone. They were seldom on the same continent, let alone in the same house.
But this year, all that has changed: For the first time in decades, neither one is in elected office, or running for one. Both are working in the family business, in the newly renamed nonprofit that once bore only Bill’s name but is now called the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, which will hold its annual conference in New York next week.
Scandal at Clinton Inc.
The entire episode was pure Doug Band. He is rarely written about, almost never quoted, and many Clinton associates are loath to discuss him on the record. “Doug is taboo—no one touches the guy,” says one person who has had extensive dealings with him. On the handful of occasions he has spoken openly to the media, he has struck an impeccably humble tone. “The thing I most enjoy in my job is helping people,” he once told his college alumni magazine. “I have been able to remain behind the scenes, making a difference and changing people’s lives.” But as Band attempts to build a business of his own, the methods he once employed discreetly in the service of his boss have started to attract unwelcome attention.
Obama Supporters Go Hysterical Over List of 252 Examples of Obama’s Lying, Corruption, and Cronyism
An interesting collection of facts and history that should be disturbing to most.
SOS Search Campaign Records
Do you want to know how much who gave to which campaign…and in what year…check out this quick and easy search engine on the SOS web site.
5 Things Winning Candidates Say
After the overwhelming response to “6 Things Losing Candidates Say” and its successor, “4 More Things Losing Candidates Say (Readers’ Edition),” I decided to try to turn it around and point out some common themes from winning candidates.
Of course these phrases don’t guarantee success — a candidate’s party and the partisanship of the state or district will be a larger determining factor. But these sayings reflect an attitude and approach that will often set up a candidate for success.
States of Change Electoral College Discussion
Not long after the 2012 election some observers noted an increasing Democratic “lock” on the Electoral College. Although Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign took a lot of heat for losing election, there has developed a general sense that changing demographics in key states are setting the stage for continued Republican difficulties in years to come. By this account, increasing numbers of Latino and Black voters–both heavily Democratic groups–in some areas have moved enough states to the Democratic column that Republican presidential candidates face an uphill battle in anything other than a bad Democratic year. And there is every reason to expect this demographic trend to continue. This idea has gained enough currency that some Democrats even see Texas, with its increasing Latino population, turning blue at some point in the future.
My interest here is in documenting the changes party fortunes in the states and trying to get a sense of which changes are of greatest consequence to the race to 270. Of course, I am not only interested in where Democrats have strengthened their position but also where they have lost ground to Republicans; for there are clearly parts of the country where Democratic prospects have dimmed appreciably over time.
A Small President on the World Stage At the U.N., leaders hope for a return of American greatness.
The world misses the old America, the one before the crash—the crashes—of the past dozen years.
That is the takeaway from conversations the past week in New York, where world leaders gathered for the annual U.N. General Assembly session. Our friends, and we have many, speak almost poignantly of the dynamism, excellence, exuberance and leadership of the nation they had, for so many years, judged themselves against, been inspired by, attempted to emulate, resented. As for those who are not America’s friends, some seem still confused, even concussed, by the new power shift. What is their exact place in it? Will it last? Will America come roaring back? Can she? Does she have the political will, the human capital, the old capability?
It is a world in a new kind of flux, one that doesn’t know what to make of America anymore. In part because of our president.
“We want American leadership,” said a member of a diplomatic delegation of a major U.S. ally. He said it softly, as if confiding he missed an old friend.
A New Type of Major-Power Relationship: Seeking a Durable Foundation for U.S.-China Ties
The phrase “a new type of relationship between major countries in the 21st century” (xinxing daguo guanxi) is a key concept for U.S.-China relations proposed by Xi Jinping in a 2012 speech in Washington, D.C. Sketching out what he had in mind, Xi said that such a relationship would be characterized by “mutual understanding and strategic trust,” “respecting each other’s ‘core interests,’ ” “mutually beneficial cooperation,” and “enhancing cooperation and coordination in international affairs and on global issues.” Subsequently, at the fourth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in May 2012, then president Hu Jintao and state councilor Dai Bingguo proposed to discuss the joint development of a new type of relations between major countries. And current premier Li Keqiang has also reiterated this idea: “I don’t believe conflicts between big powers are inevitable….Shared interests often override their disputes….We’re willing to construct a new type of relationship between big powers.”
This Chinese initiative to start a dialogue on a new type of major-power relations is thus a development that Washington should, and seemingly does, welcome. To date, however, the initial suggestions from both countries have predictably focused more on what each side wants the other to do rather than on what both sides must do. This essay aims to move the discussion forward by specifying the economic and security domains in which cooperation needs to be initiated or enhanced and by making specific policy proposals.
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