Percentage of ‘Extremely Proud’ to Be American Declines; Dems Pick Up Edge in Party Affiliation in Unrelated Gallup Polls

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — As Independence Day approaches, most in the U.S. say they are proud to be an American, including a slight majority, 54%, who are “extremely proud.” The percentage saying they are “extremely proud” is slightly lower than in recent years and down from peaks at and around 70% between 2002 and 2004, after 9/11….

Meanwhile, by coincidence, there’s this:

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PRINCETON, N.J. — In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of Americans’ party affiliation. A total of 46% of Americans identified as Democrats (30%) or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (16%), while 41% identified as Republicans (25%) or leaned Republican (16%). The two parties were generally even during the previous three quarters, including the fourth quarter of 2014, when the midterm elections took place.(read more)

Completely unrelated, we’re sure.

…In addition to the 54% who are extremely proud to be an American, 27% say they are “very proud,” 14% say they are “moderately proud,” 4% are “only a little proud” and 1% state that they are “not at all proud.”

These data are from a June 2-7 poll. Gallup has asked this question regularly since 2001. The highest percentage saying they were “extremely proud” to be an American came in 2003, in the months after the Iraq war began and not long after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans’ patriotism surged. It is likely that the aftermath of 9/11 may have produced an anomaly in the levels of “extreme pride” in patriotism.

While most Americans are proud to be an American, certain groups are especially likely to say they are extremely proud. “Extreme pride” rises for each succeeding age group, from a low of 43% among those under 30 to a high of 64% among senior citizens.

Extreme pride also varies regionally, from a high of 61% in the South to a low of 46% in the West.

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans say they are extremely proud to be an American, much higher than the 47% of Democrats who say the same. As usual, independents are in the middle, at 53%.

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Americans’ likelihood of saying that they are “extremely proud” to be an American has returned to where it was in early 2001, before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REASON TV: 5 Takeaways From Today’s Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare

5 Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Subsidies Ruling in King v. Burwell
Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote the law in order to save it – again.


How the White House Abandoned American Hostages

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I was an advisor to the families of U.S. hostages held by the Islamic State. And the Obama administration failed them, repeatedly

Barak Barfi writes: In the last 10 months, the Islamic State has brutally executed four American hostages. As Americans died, their government was powerless to stop the slaying. For while European governments tirelessly toiled to secure the release of European hostages, President Barack Obama’s administration’s passive approach doomed their Barak-BarfiAmerican cellmates.

“But more egregious was this administration’s failure. The White House did not do enough to rescue the four Americans. During Steve’s imprisonment, it rarely worked with the hostages’ families, kept them in the dark, and was essentially passive, rather than discussing ways to secure their release.”

I had a connection to three of the four hostages and their families. The parents of aid worker Kayla Mueller, who died in an airstrike in February, frequently consulted with me. Peter Kassig, another aid worker who was beheaded last November, slept on my couch two weeks before his abduction. And journalist Steve Sotloff was my best friend. I spoke to him moments before his abduction after he entered Syria. In letters smuggled out of captivity, Steve wrote that he was counting on me to get him out. I failed him.

Peter Kassig,

Peter Kassig,

“The State Department was no better. When the mother of one of the hostages requested a senior point of contact at the White House, a State Department official rebuked her for going over her head.”

But more egregious was this administration’s failure. The White House did not do enough to rescue the four Americans. During Steve’s imprisonment, it rarely worked with the hostages’ families, kept them in the dark, and was essentially passive, rather than discussing ways to secure their release. And though the White House finally authorized an extraction attempt in late June 2014, it waited far too long to do so.

“Our lead agent misled me on several occasions, employing convoluted legalisms that would have impressed the greatest Talmudic scholars. His tactics so frustrated the Sotloffs that they finally asked him to address all queries to me.”

It was left to civilians like me to gather information and debrief the released European hostages. Because of my experience in the Middle East, I became the principal advisor to Steve’s family, directly handling their communication with the Islamic State.

[Read the full text here, at Foreign Policy]

The U.S. government’s principal channels with the four families largely consisted of mid-level officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. The FBI was useless. Its tasks were alternately to extract information and to comfort the family. It never shared intelligence. One European hostage, who was incarcerated with the Americans and subsequently released, told me he was shocked that the FBI seemed more interested in gathering evidence to prosecute the hostage-takers than it was in locating the Americans. Our lead agent misled me on several occasions, employing convoluted legalisms that would have impressed the greatest Talmudic scholars. His tactics so frustrated the Sotloffs that they finally asked him to address all queries to me. Though Steve is dead, our nightmare with the FBI continues. The bureau still refuses to give the Sotloffs the original letters he smuggled out of prison, claiming it is studying them for clues. Read the rest of this entry »


Full Scale Non-Stop Global Panic Update: Obama’s Cyber Meltdown Keeps Getting Worse

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When the Administration disclosed the OPM hack in early June, they said Chinese hackers had stolen the personal information of up to four million current and former federal employees. The suspicion was that this was another case of hackers (presumably sanctioned by China’s government) stealing data to use in identity theft and financial fraud. Which is bad enough.

Yet in recent days Obama officials have quietly acknowledged to Congress that the hack was far bigger, and far more devastating. It appears OPM was subject to two breaches of its system in mid-to-late 2014, and the hackers appear to have made off with millions of security-clearance background check files.

These include reports on Americans who work for, did work for, or attempted to work for the panic_300Administration, the military and intelligence agencies. They even include Congressional staffers who left government—since their files are also sent to OPM.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

This means the Chinese now possess sensitive information on everyone from current cabinet officials to U.S. spies. Background checks are specifically done to report personal histories that might put federal employees at risk for blackmail. The Chinese now hold a blackmail instruction manual for millions of targets.

These background checks are also a treasure trove of names, containing sensitive information on an applicant’s spouse, children, extended family, friends, neighbors, employers, landlords. Each of those people is also now a target, and in ways they may not contemplate. In many instances the files contain reports on applicants compiled by federal investigators, and thus may contain information that the applicant isn’t aware of.

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Of particular concern are federal contractors and subcontractors, who rarely get the same security training as federal employees, and in some scenarios don’t even know for what agency they are working. These employees are particularly ripe targets for highly sophisticated phishing emails that attempt to elicit sensitive corporate or government information. Read the rest of this entry »


German Tanks Roll Back into Poland

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The tiny Polish town of Swietoszow did not officially exist during the Cold War; as home to a massive but secret Soviet tank force ready to strike at the West, it was removed from all public maps and records.

Last week Nato used the base for the first big deployment of a new special force to defend eastern Europe from an increasingly expansionist Russia.

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American Black Hawk helicopters thundered in the skies as German tanks rolled from across the nearby border, along with troops and hardware from seven other nations that make up Nato’s Spearhead Force, which was set up last year in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: U.S. Officials: Massive Breach of Federal Personnel Data

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is scrambling to assess the impact of a massive data breach involving the agency that handles security clearances and employee records, U.S. officials said Thursday. STAMP-panic-red-250

A congressional aide familiar with the situation, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to discuss it, said the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department were hacked. A second U.S. official who also declined to be identified said the data breach could potentially affect every federal agency.

The White House was considering a public announcement of the breach Thursday night or Friday morning, the second official said.

The Office of Personnel Management is the human resources department for the federal government, and issues security clearances….(developing)

StarTribune.com


Michael Barone: Is it Time for Civil Disobedience of Kludgeocratic Bureaucracy?

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Michael BaroneBarone-3 writes: Is there any way to reverse the trend to ever more intrusive, bossy government? Things have gotten to such a pass, argues Charles Murray, that only civil disobedience might — might — work. But the chances are good enough, he says, that he’s written a book about it: By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.

“The Progressive push to give politically insulated bureaucrats power to impose detailed and often incomprehensible rules was a product of the industrial era, a time when it was supposed that experts with stopwatches could design maximally productive assembly lines.”

Murray has a track record of making seemingly outlandish proposals that turn out to be widely accepted public policy. His 1984 book Losing Ground recommended the radical 51j9hLRFPVL._SL250_step of abolishing all welfare payments. A dozen years later the federal welfare reform act took a long step in that direction.

[Order Charles Murray’s book “By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission” from Amazon.com]

Murray was prompted to write By the People, he says, when a friend who owns a small business was confronted by OSHA inspectors and had an experience similar to one recounted in Philip Howard’s The Death of Common Sense.

[Read the full text of Michael Barone’s article here, at WashingtonExaminer.com]

The inspector found violations. Railings in his factory were 40 inches high, not 42; there was no automatic shutoff on a conveyor belt cordoned off from workers; a worker with a beard was allowed to use a non-close-fitting dust mask. Picayune stuff. But unless changes were made, the inspector said, we’ll put you out of business.

“What is to be done? Citizens, says Murray, should be willing to violate laws that the ordinary person would instantly recognize as ridiculous. And deep-pocketed citizens should set up a Madison Fund, to subsidize their legal defense and pay their fines.”

How had things come to this pass? Murray ascribes it to the abandonment of effective limits on government embedded in the Constitution by its prime architect James Madison. That started with the early twentieth century Progressives, who passed laws setting up independent and supposedly expert bureaucrats in charge of regulation, and furthered by New Deal Supreme Court decisions.

“The cultural uniformity that people remember from the post-World War II decades is the exception rather than the rule in American history. We were a religiously, ethnically and regionally diverse nation in James Madison’s time, Murray says, and we are once again. The uniformity temporarily imposed by shared wartime and postwar experiences is no more.”

Murray argues that these mistakes cannot be reversed by the political or judicial processes. The Court won’t abandon longstanding doctrines on which millions of people have relied. Congress, even a Republican Congress working with a Republican president, won’t repeal vaguely worded statutes that give regulators wide-ranging discretion. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s Passive ISIS Plan: Run Out the Clock

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“Although the Obama administration’s public messaging is that it still wants to ‘degrade and ultimately defeat’ ISIS, in reality, many in the Pentagon view the real objective as just running out the clock.”

Read more….

The Daily Beast


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Hillary Called to Testify Before House Benghazi Committee

AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / FILESBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON)— Matthew Daly reports: The chairman of a House committee investigating the 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, has called former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to testifyPANTSUIT-REPORT next month, setting up a high-profile showdown over Clinton’s use of a private email account and server while she was secretary of state.

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina says he wants Clinton to testify the week of May 18 and again before June 18. The first hearing would focus on Clinton’s use of private emails; the second on the September 2012 attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

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Gowdy’s action comes a day after the GOP-led panel signaled its final report could slip to next year, just months before the presidential election. Clinton is the leading Democratic candidate.

[TIME]


[VIDEO] Dr. Charles Krauthammer: Obama Administration ‘Will Not Let the Facts Stand in the Way’ of a Deal with Iran


From The Corner,

On Tuesday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said the Obama administration misled the American people about the estimated time the administration thought Iran would need to obtain nuclear weapons.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. JIM BOURG

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. JIM BOURG

“This is an administration that is determined to get a deal and will not let the facts stand in the way.” 

“The only explanation, the best explanation surely, is they were deliberately deceiving the American people—and the Congress, of course—because they [the Obama administration] knew they [Iran] were only few months a way and pretended otherwise,” Krauthammer said…(read more)

National Review Online


[VIDEO] Dr. Krauthammer: ‘Al-Qaeda Probably Stronger than It’s Ever Been’

Charles Krauthammer, Special Report, 4-16-2015


Dr. K: ‘Hillary Clinton Cannot Escape Her Past’

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, on Special Report. 

“She can’t run on change because she’s been in this administration, she has been around for 30 years, that would be a fraud. She represents the past. In the 90s, it was a good past. In the last six years, it was not that good a past that she’ll be representing.”

The Corner

National Review


Another Court Victory Against Obama’s Illegal Executive Order Granting Amnesty

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Judge Denies Obama’s Request to Let Immigration Policy Stand

 reports: A Brownsville-based federal judge on Tuesday denied the Obama administration’s proxyrequest to let a controversial immigration program proceed while the issue plays out in the courts.

United States District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that his initial decision to halt the president’s November executive action — which seeks to grant deportation relief and a work permit to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including a portion of the 1.6 million currently living in Texas — was the right one.

“Having considered the positions of all parties and the applicable law, this court remains convinced that its original findings and rulings in the Order of Temporary Injunction and Memorandum Opinion and Order issued on Feb. 16, 2015…were correct.”

Hanen initially ruled that the White House violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the way federal policies are crafted and how much input the public gets.

TxTrib-ImmigrationRally

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has called Obama’s action “beyond any president’s authority,” and says it “would inevitably cause irreparable harm to our state, imposing border-meltdown5hundreds of millions of dollars in costs on Texas.”

Gov. Greg Abbott, the state’s former attorney general, filed the lawsuit against the Obama administration in December before being sworn in as governor. Texas is part of a 26-state coalition that challenged the executive action.

Hanen blocked the measure in February and the Obama administration immediately requested that the judge delay his own order. But on Tuesday, Hanen reiterated that wasn’t going to happen. Read the rest of this entry »


Latin America Silent on Venezuela as U.S. Airs Rights Concerns

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PANAMA CITY (AP) — Joshua Goodman and Peter Orsi report: From Mexico to Brazil, leaders in Latin America have largely kept silent amid charges of human rights abuses in Venezuela and are unlikely to speak out against their neighbor at this week’s Summit of the Americas.

“The Obama administration last month froze the U.S. assets and revoked visas for seven senior officials accused of human rights violations related to protests last year against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.”

Many Latin American heads of state gathering in Panama City are bound to oil-rich Venezuela by business dealings if not ideology, and are put off by recent U.S. sanctions against some of the country’s officials. Others do not want to be seen as doing Washington’s bidding, particularly as they face protests and plunging approval ratings at home.

“The unrest is blamed for more than 40 deaths and triggered a crackdown on criticism that led to the jailing of several opposition leaders, including February’s surprise arrest of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma.”

“Venezuela has successfully played the history of U.S. imperialism and U.S. heavy-handedness cards, in a way that has made people want to back away from public criticism,” said Geoff Thale, an analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America.

Venezuela Regional Silence

“It was no surprise that leftist allies such as the governments of Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua would leap to defend Caracas. All have a history of vocal opposition to Washington. But even more moderate governments and traditional U.S. allies in the region have been reluctant to criticize Maduro.”

The Obama administration last month froze the U.S. assets and revoked visas for seven senior officials accused of human rights violations related to protests last year against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government. The unrest is blamed for more than 40 deaths and triggered a crackdown on criticism that led to the jailing of several opposition leaders, including February’s surprise arrest of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma.

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Human Rights Watch and other advocacy groups issued a statement on Tuesday asking the countries attending the summit to call Maduro’s administration to task for its alleged harassment of rights defenders.

But rather than highlight alleged abuses, the U.S. sanctions have drawn widespread condemnation in Latin America, denying Obama a hoped-for diplomatic victory lap at the summit for his decision to restore ties with Cold War nemesis Cuba. A reference to Venezuela as a threat to U.S. national security included in the sanctions declaration is standard bureaucratic language for the United States, but disturbing to a region with a long history of U.S. interference, from support for past military regimes to efforts to topple leftist governments.

Deputy National Security adviser Benjamin Rhodes argued Tuesday during a White House press briefing on Obama’s upcoming visit that the language in the executive order was the same typically used by the U.S. when it levies sanctions around the world. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dr. K: The Obama Administration’s Deal with Iran Has a Fundamental Problem

From The Corner

On Monday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said the problem with the Obama administration’s deal with Iran is that it no longer requires Iran to end its nuclear program, as the U.S. had originally intended.

“The problem with deal is really a fundamental one, apart from all of the details. The highway to a bomb is right there and that’s the problem, the fundamental issue with the deal—Obama changed the entire idea.”

(read more)

National Review


Obama’s Iran Policy Is Lost at Sea

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How can the U.S. hope to keep tabs on Tehran’s nuclear program when we can’t even track its oil tankers?

Ms. Rosett is journalist in residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and heads its Investigative Reporting Project.

Claudia Rosettclaudiarosett writes: American negotiators and their cohorts are trying to close a deal that would let Iran keep its nuclear program, subject to intricate conditions of monitoring and enforcement. Yet how is a deal like that supposed to be verified? The Obama administration can’t even keep up with the Iran-linked oil tankers on the U.S. blacklist.

Currently, there are at least 55 of these tankers the Treasury Department says are under U.S. sanctions. These are large ships, major links in the oil chain that sustains the Tehran regime, many of them calling at ports from Turkey to China. They are easier to spot and track than, say, smuggled nuclear parts (which, in a pinch, they could potentially squeeze on board).

“Typical of Iran’s shrouded tanker fleet is the blacklisted ship called the Sinopa, previously named the Superior and before that, the Daisy. Since early 2014, the Sinopa has visited India and China. It has also made multiple trips from Iran to Turkey, via the Suez Canal, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence shipping database, the main source of ship-tracking data for this article.” 

But Iran has engaged for years in what Treasury called “deceptive practices” to dodge sanctions. These include trying to mask the identities, and sometimes the smuggling activities, of its blacklisted ships by renaming them, reflagging them to other countries, veiling their ownership behind front companies, presenting false documents, and engaging in illicit ship-to-ship oil transfers.

“Judging by Treasury’s blacklist, the Sinopa—which Treasury still describes under her previous name of Superior—has done all of this under no identified flag. Why not—what is she hiding? The Treasury refuses to comment on specific cases.”

The result, according to information on Treasury’s publicly available blacklist, is that the U.S. government cannot establish under what flag at least 31 of these tankers are doing business. They can be identified by their unique seven-digit hull numbers, or IMO numbers, issued for the life of each ship. But a ship’s flag also is a vital identifier, one under which it signals its position, carries cargo and presents credentials to visit ports, buy insurance and pay fees. On Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals list, which helps ensure global compliance with U.S. sanctions, in the category of “flag” for these 31 tankers Treasury states: “none identified.”

Under terms of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action that frames the Iran nuclear talks, the U.S. does grant temporary waivers for a handful of places to buy Iranian oil in limited quantities: Turkey, India, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. This means that some activities of these tankers may be legitimate. Read the rest of this entry »


Iran Unveils New Ground-Based Cruise Missile System

Iran Missile

Iran unveils newly developed long range cruise missile called Soumar that looks like a reverse engineered KH-55

“Soumar long-range ground-to-ground cruise missile system has been designed and built by experts of the defense ministry’s aerospace industries organization,” Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan told reporters after the unveiling ceremony.

“The designing and building of this weapon whose navigation and propulsion systems and its structure enjoy complicated and new technologies is seen as a wide stride taken to enhance the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defensive and deterrence power,” he added.

Dehqan also announced the mass delivery of Qadr and Qiyam long-range ballistic missiles to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Aerospace Force, and said these missiles are capable of destroying IMAGE635614086663178000different types of targets under any type of conditions due to their tactical capability, sustainability in the battleground and radar-evading features.

He also announced that the defense ministry will deliver upgraded versions of these long-range and high-precision missiles to the Iranian military forces next year.

Also during the ceremony, IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh hailed Iran’s advancements in missile technology under the harshest sanctions imposed on the country, and underlined that Iran will never allow its defense program and cruise missiles become a topic in its negotiations with the world powers.

The Iranian Armed Forces have recently test-fired different types of newly-developed missiles and torpedoes and tested a large number of home-made weapons, tools and equipment, including submarines, military ships, artillery, choppers, aircrafts, UAVs and air defense and electronic systems, during massive military drills.

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Defense analysts and military observers say that Iran’s wargames and its advancements in weapons production have proved as a deterrent factor.

Iran successfully tested second generation of Sejjil missiles and brought it into mass production in 2013.

Sejjil missiles are considered as the third generation of Iran-made long-range missiles.

Also, Iran’s 2000km-range, liquid-fuel, Qadr F ballistic missile can reach territories as far as Israel. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] State Dept Spox Marie Harf: ‘Correct’ That We Can’t Know Clinton Provided All Emails Without Access to Her Server

State Dept: ‘Correct’ That We Can’t Know Clinton Provided All Emails Without Access to Her Server (March 6, 2015)

 


Insurers’ Sweet Screaming Nightmare Scenario: A Health-Law Death Spiral

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Anna Wilde Mathews reports: As the Supreme Court hears arguments on Wednesday in the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are struggling to prepare for a decision that could unravel the marketplaces created by the law.

“Without the tax credits, insurance-industry officials say, the individual insurance markets in those states are likely to start collapsing, as many people drop coverage they can no longer afford, leaving only those less-healthy consumers who value insurance because they’re likely to need care…”

The ruling could come in June—but insurers must make regulatory filings before then about their 2016 plans. Utah’s Arches Health Plan, for one, says it may propose an array of insurance product designs this spring. Then, depending on what the court decides, the insurer would be poised to drop some of them before they’re finalized with regulators and offered to consumers. The insurer may also come up with two different sets of rates for next year, one for each potential court outcome.

“…That would drive up premiums, because insurers would raise rates to cover the costs of this smaller, sicker pool. Then even more people would likely refuse the ever-more-expensive coverage.”

“We’re hedging our bets right now,” says Ferris W. Taylor, chief strategy officer.

The Supreme Court case focuses on federal subsidies that help lower-income consumers purchase plans. The plaintiffs argue that these tax credits aren’t authorized by the law in states where the federal government provides the online insurance exchange—which total as many as 37. Avalere Health, a consulting firm, estimated that around 7.45 million people could lose the federal financial help if the court rules against the subsidies.

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“What happens is, you go into a classic death spiral…It doesn’t hang together.”

— Janie Miller, chief executive of nonprofit insurer Kentucky Health Cooperative Inc

Without the tax credits, insurance-industry officials say, the individual insurance markets in those states are likely to start collapsing, as many people drop coverage they can no longer afford, leaving only those less-healthy consumers who value insurance because they’re likely to need care. That would drive up premiums, because insurers would raise rates to cover the costs of this smaller, sicker pool. Then even more people would likely refuse the ever-more-expensive coverage.

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An analysis by researchers at the Urban Institute, a liberal-leaning policy research group, projected that in states where the subsidies disappeared, individual insurance premiums would go up 35% on average in 2016. That increase would affect all consumers purchasing their own plans in those states, including people who didn’t buy through the government marketplace, the researchers suggested. The financial blow would be particularly tough for smaller insurers that can’t dilute the impact with other, unaffected business, like employer and Medicare plans.

 “The impact would be substantial enough that I would expect many carriers to consider pulling from the market. There’s a question, if the subsidies are struck down, if it’s an insurable market.”

— Tom Snook, an actuary with consultants Milliman Inc. who is working with a number of insurers offering exchange plans

“What happens is, you go into a classic death spiral,” says Janie Miller, chief executive of nonprofit insurer Kentucky Health Cooperative Inc. “It doesn’t hang together.” Her nonprofit’s home state wouldn’t feel the direct impact of a ruling, because Kentucky has its own exchange. But the insurer has said that next year it will go into West Virginia, where the subsidies could potentially be affected. Ms. Miller said the co-op would have to re-evaluate its expansion plans if the court struck down tax credits there. Read the rest of this entry »


Democrats Run Away from Obamacare Penalty They Imposed

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Democrats don’t like to call the Obamacare penalty a penalty; its official name is the Shared Responsibility Payment. But the fact is, the lawmakers’ intent in levying the fines was to make it so painful for the average American to ignore Obamacare that he or she will ultimately knuckle under and do as instructed.

Byron Yorkyork writes: The Democrats who wrote and passed the Affordable Care Act were sure of two things: The law had to include a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance, and it had to have an enforcement mechanism to make the mandate work. Enforcement has always been at the heart of Obamacare.

Now, though, enforcement time has come, and some Democrats are shying away from the coercive measures they themselves wrote into law.

China Currency

“Enforcement Has Always Been at the Heart of Obamacare”

The Internal Revenue Service is the enforcement arm of Obamacare, and with tax forms due April 15, Americans who did not purchase coverage and who have not received one of the many exemptions already offered by the administration are discovering they will have to pay a substantial fine. For a household with, say, no kids and two earners making $35,000 a piece, the fine will be $500, paid at tax time.

millen-anguish

“And there’s very little chance the individual mandate’s approval numbers will improve, now that millions of Americans are getting a taste of what it really means.”

That’s already a fact. What is particularly worrisome to Democrats now is that, as those taxpayers discover the penalty they owe, they will already be racking up a new, higher penalty for 2015. This year, the fine for not obeying Obamacare’s edict is $325 per adult, or two percent of income above the filing threshold, whichever is higher. So that couple making $35,000 a year each will have to pay $1,000.

There’s another problem. The administration’s enrollment period just ended on February 15. So if people haven’t signed up for Obamacare already, they’ll be stuck paying the higher penalty for 2015.

China Currency

“The individual mandate has always been extremely unpopular. In December 2014, just a couple of months ago, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 64 percent of those surveyed don’t like the mandate. The level of disapproval has been pretty consistent since the law was passed.”

By the way, Democrats don’t like to call the Obamacare penalty a penalty; its official name is the Shared Responsibility Payment. But the fact is, the lawmakers’ intent in levying the fines was to make it so painful for the average American to ignore Obamacare that he or she will ultimately knuckle under and do as instructed.

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Except that it’s easier to inflict theoretical pain than actual pain. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obama’s Internet Regulations

“The FCC has now rolled out its initial plan, it’s 332 pages. Although when I say rolled out, that word has to be used lightly, because you and I are not allowed to read those 332 pages. They literally have a book, this is how we are going to regulate the internet, and by the way, no one gets to read it. One FCC commissioner held up the book and said ‘I guess you got to pass it to find out what’s in it,’ echoing Nancy Pelosi,” Cruz says in a statement.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) leaves the floor of the Senate after a testy exchange with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) at the start of legislative business, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013.

“If the FCC turns the Internet into a regulated public utility, the innovation, the creativity that has characterized the Internet from its dawn, will inevitably be stifled. Now Title II by the way, gives all sorts of authority to regulate pricing and terms of service, and one of the implications if the Internet is regulated under Title II is 11 billion dollars a year in new taxes… Think about whether 11 billion dollars a year on the Internet is a good thing or a bad thing.

Obama Big brother

“Now here’s where the FCC says, ‘no don’t worry, we won’t collect those taxes, we’re going to exercise forbearance,’ I don’t know if you’ve heard the ancient fable about the frog who gives the scorpion a ride across the river, and half way across the river the scorpion stabs the frog and they both sink under the water and as they’re going under, the frog says, ‘why, now we both will die’, and the scorpion tells the frog, ‘because it is my nature.’ I promise you, it is the nature of the government regulators, if they have it, they will use it, 100 percent of the time, it will grow, the taxes will come.

The Weekly Standard


Josh Earnest Smugly Claims ‘Accuracy’ When Defending Obama’s Bizarre Religious Taboo

WH-accuracy

Charlie Spiering reports: Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended President Obama and White House officials for refusing to describe the terrorist attacks in Paris as a consequence of radical Islamic terrorism.

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UPDATE: LA Times Obama sympathizer defends the absurdity

Earnest explained to White House reporters during the press briefing that this is a question of “accuracy.”

“We want to describe exactly what happened. Read the rest of this entry »


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