Aug 06 2014
We keep being assured that Obamacare is working – aside from minor glitches like the federal subsidies possibly being unconstitutional. But we’re told more people have health coverage, and everything is sunshine and lollipops now. So why has public approval of Obamacare dropped to an all-time low in the new Kaiser Family Foundation survey? Kaiser found that from June to July, the public’s unfavorable rating for Obamacare leaped 8 points to 53 percent, one of the biggest one-month swings ever, for any issue. And quite a few of those early buyers that were trumpeted by the White House have stopped making payments and dropped their policies. Why?
The New York Times discovered that many Obamacare buyers who are new to health insurance feel bamboozled. They thought they were getting free or less expensive health care. Instead, they’re wading through reams of confusing paperwork, only to find that their payments, deductibles and co-pays are higher than expected. Worse, many doctors won’t take their policies because of the low reimbursement rates. Patients with preexisting conditions who need to see certain doctors are finding they’re only included under the most expensive policies. So they still don’t have access to the doctors they need – the Times calls this “access shock” – plus they now have the added expense of useless insurance. And the price is still rising: it was just predicted that premiums on the Florida exchange will rise over 13 percent next year. So they’re dropping the policies.
It’s all because a problem that should have been narrowly targeted – helping the poor and sick obtain health care – was turned into a giant, federal Rube Goldberg machine. For instance, how many sick people could have been helped with $850 million worth of medical care? Because that’s the latest estimate of the cost just for setting up the Obamacare website – which still won’t be functional until at least 2015. I take back what I said about it being a Rube Goldberg device. Those ridiculously inefficient contraptions might have involved monkeys and cannons and bowling balls, but at least, they worked.
Aug 01 2014
Did someone drop the Bill of Rights into a paper shredder when we weren’t looking? I can’t think of any other way to explain the news that the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS (the same fair and objective squad of public servants that was once headed by Lois Lerner) has agreed to appease atheists by promising to “monitor” church sermons for any forbidden expression of opinions on matters of public morality. For instance, if a minister speaks out against gay marriage or Obamacare paying for abortion drugs, his church might lose its tax-exempt status, because those are political issues. Of course, they are also basic moral issues, the type of things you might expect would be addressed, oh, I don’t know…in CHURCH!!
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist group, cited in its complaint the 1954 Johnson Amendment that bars tax-exempt groups from endorsing candidates (two points: speaking out on a moral issue that has a political component is not endorsing a candidate, and besides, I don’t see them complaining about all the liberal candidates who practically live in black church pulpits during election season) and a 2009 court ruling that requires the IRS to have a staffer to monitor churches to prevent them from politicking. The IRS claims this latest move is just to comply with that ruling that they’d been ignoring.
But they should have been ignoring it. The First Amendment contains five key freedoms, and for the government to monitor what’s said in church pulpits and punish them for it makes a mockery of at least two of them: freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If the IRS bans the sermon from being printed in the church bulletin, we can add freedom of the press to the death list, too. The only thing left of the First Amendment would be the rights to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. So if this latest assault on conservative churchgoers by the IRS makes people decide to assemble in Washington with tar and feathers, just consider it an exercise of the two-fifths of the First Amendment that are still in force.
Jul 28 2014
Mike HuckabeePresident Obama is too busy shaking down fat cat donors as a combination of Boss Hogg and Daddy Warbucks for the Democrat party than taking care of his day job that he has no interest in actually doing. His AWOL status combined with his passive indifference to a world in crisis makes his leadership model the combination of Nero and Neville Chamberlain—he fiddles (and golfs) while the world burns, and seeks to appease the enemies of freedom instead of challenging them. In Israel’s fight for survival, his administration’s policy is embarrassing. It attempts to equate a terror group’s intentional targeting of civilians with a legitimate government seeking to defend its civilians and protect its children. The deaths of both Israelis and innocents in Gaza are tragic, but to equate Israel’s defense of itself with the aggressive, inhuman, and savage acts of Hamas is as ridiculous as if Franklin Roosevelt would have said to the Brits and the Nazis that they both were about the same. 41 years ago this month, I made my first trip to the Middle East. I tried to be sympathetic to the Arab sentiments about Israel and wanted to believe that everyone wanted peace. Several wars, 2 intifadas, thousands of terrorist acts and suicide bombings, the disastrous Oslo accords, the repeated rejections of any peace agreement by the Palestinians despite the give away of massive amounts of land by the Israelis made me realize that radical Islam wants annihilation of Israel. The very charter documents of Hamas and other terror groups openly state—they don’t want peace for their children; they want death to the Israeli children. Israel has done more than any nation, including the United States, to avoid the killing of civilians by going to unprecedented lengths to warn residents of Gaza of impending attacks through phone calls, leaflets, and text messages. Israel isn’t trying to take 1 inch of Gaza back—they just want Hamas to stop firing rockets into their neighborhoods. Do they get credit for that? Are they acknowledged for building field hospitals to treat Palestinian victims near the Gaza border? Are they thanked for not celebrating the deaths of children? No. Meanwhile John Kerry that is intended for assistance for civilians, but will be used to buy more weapons and rockets offers the psychopathic killers of Hamas $47 million dollars of your money. The vast network of tunnels under Gaza and into Israel aren’t for a subway system, but as the means of murdering more Israelis. The UN should demand that Hamas stop firing rockets and unilaterally disarm and fill in the tunnels, but they won’t. When it was discovered that a UN relief facility was actually housing Hamas rockets, the UN at first expressed outrage, and then gave the rockets back to Hamas so they can kill more Jews. The UN shouldn’t get another dime of American money. What defenders of the murderers and terrorists of Hamas fail to get is that the same people who hate Israel and who enjoy the deaths of Jewish children also hate America, and are merely practicing on Israel what they hope to do to us. If Americans, and especially our naïve President and his clown car cabinet don’t know that, then we’re in more danger than we’ve ever been in.
Jul 21 2014
Jun 30 2014
The Supreme Court got it right, today, but barely. In the 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the government can't force an employer in a privately held company to provide abortifacient drugs as part of its health care plan.
Only in the la-la land of left would it sound reasonable that government has created not only a 'right' to take the life of a child, but the obligation of providing it, even when it violated the First Amendment rights of that employer. The government can't say, 'you can have some religion, but only what the government agrees is sufficient.'
The Hobby Lobby ruling is yet another repudiation of the overreaching dictates of the Obama administration and a good day for freedom.
Jun 16 2014
Jun 11 2014
Jun 01 2014
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my wife and I were celebrating 40 years of marriage, so we took a trip to China. From the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in Beijing; the Terra Cotta Warriors near Xian; the stunning skyline of Shanghai; to the Sichuan Province and Chengdu. It was there Janet held and fed a baby Panda. And no, I didn’t bring a real one home for the grandkids! Many Americans fear that China might get too strong. I must confess that I’m not worried that China will get too strong. I am worried that America might be getting too weak. Other nations having a strong economy is not bad for the United States. One less hungry mouthed country wanting us to take care of it and its people is great.
If they have money, maybe they will buy the things we innovate and make. We need to be fear that we will quit innovating and making things because excess taxation, regulation, and litigation will drive the jobs and the money away from American working men and women. I was stunned that China is becoming more like America used to be, and America is becoming more like China used to be. While America’s infrastructure crumbles, China is busy building its roadways, bridges, airports, and utility systems. China is still a communist governed country and we’re still a constitutional republic, but they are allowing more and more free enterprise and personal ownership, and we’re watching our government take away land rights and personal and religious freedoms at a stunning rate.
I don’t want what still remains of Chinese communism, but maybe we could loan them our Constitution—doesn’t appear that we’re using it much these days anyhow. We still have some advantages: The Chinese exercise strict control over the internet, blocking FB, You Tube, and a lot of websites, including the New York Times because they feel it’s proganda; but then, we have members of Congress pushing for greater control over the internet as well, and I’m not sure but what the Chinese might have it right on the New York Times. They scrub their history books of moments like the brutal killing of protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989; good thing we don’t re-write our history just to ignore parts of it that aren’t politically correct. But then, have you seen an American history book lately? The Chinese are notorious for spying on its citizens and using the full force of government to monitor its people and minimize dissent and religious expression. Thank God the United States would never do that! Oh, but then our government collects our phone calls, web searches, and tracks us and is systematically scrubbing God from the public square. China’s government regulates much of daily life for its citizens, from housing, health care, education, and personal artistic freedom, even though one can see a lot of personal freedoms in public parks where people can sing, dance, or do Tai Chai. I’m pretty sure that if people used personal amplification devices in New York’s Central Park, the strong arm of New York City would stop that. China has a history of dealing harshly with those it perceives as its enemies---some just disappear. We have strict constitutional protections in America to guarantee civil rights, being able to face our accuser, not having our homes searched or our property seized without a warrant. Unless of course, we happen to be a citizens sitting where a drone drops a bomb or fires a missile at us, but that saves the cost of a pesky trial. And sometimes the people we kill aren’t even our enemies. Sometimes, they are our veterans, who thought we’d give them protection and health care. They gave us our liberties; by mistreating them and killing them, we take away theirs. I don’t fear that China is becoming more like the United States used to be; I fear America is becoming more like what China used to be.
May 28 2014
Tuesday in Texas, the Tea Party proved that like Mark Twain, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Tea Party-backed conservatives won big over Establishment Republicans in the Texas GOP primary runoffs, racking up nearly 2-1 margins in the Attorney General’s race (where Ken Paxton, whom I endorsed, beat Dan Branch,) and the Lieutenant Governor’s race (where Dan Patrick, whom I endorsed, trounced David Dewhurst.) Some of the issues that resonated with Texas voters included tougher enforcement of immigration laws – or enforcing them at all – and keeping Obamacare out of Texas. A few candidates also shot themselves in the foot by running incredibly nasty negative ads, only to see them backfire. It’s heartening that sleazy, unfounded attack ads are starting to repulse voters who see the perilous road America is one and who want someone serious in charge for a change.
As to whether the Texas landslides represent a resurgence of the Tea Party and conservatism in general, or just an isolated stronghold, we’ll find out next Tuesday when eight more states hold primaries.
There was another factor at work in Texas’ 4th Congressional District runoff. After 18 terms in office, Ralph Hall became the first incumbent to lose to a primary challenger this year. The winner, former US attorney John Radcliffe, questioned whether Hall, the oldest member of Congress at 91, was fit for another term. A lot of people thought he was: he had the endorsement of the NRA, Ron Paul and a number of Republicans, including (full disclosure) me. But voters decided it was time for new blood, and in that solidly Republican district, Radcliffe won’t even have to face a Democrat in November. Rep. Hall took his loss gracefully, wishing Radcliffe well and telling reporters, “I just got whipped and I got beat and my folks are sad. But they know I’m not sad. I’m pleased to have had the opportunity.”
But Hall’s departure means more than just the end of a long political career. With Democrat John Dingell retiring and Hall defeated, next year will bring the first Congress in over half a century to contain no World War II veterans. The Greatest Generation that did so much for the world and for America is fading into history, as Baby Boomers and Gen X and Y’ers assume the reins of power. Let’s hope that in between all their rebelling, they absorbed even a fraction of the wisdom of their parents and grandparents, and some of their appreciation for what makes America the great and exceptional nation that it is. Maybe once they are completely responsible for preserving this nation and all it represents for their own children and grandchildren, they’ll finally be able to see the entire precious jewel instead of only the tiny flaws.