Tag Archives: Obama

A detailed look at the new Republican Obamacare revision

Link here [pdf]. This is worth a read, as it provides the best most detailed look at the Senate’s proposed bill I have seen so far.

While the bill has many good things, overall it really is no different than Obamacare. It is a bureaucratic mess, it leaves many of Obamacare’s worst rules in place (such as the requirement that everyone, male or female, pay for maternity care), and it continues the inappropriate micromanaging of Congress in this private sector industry.

It might pass, but if it does, all it will accomplish is to stain the Republicans with this monstrosity of a law, as premiums will surely continue to rise, as will medical costs. Up until now, the Republican Party has been saying it had nothing to do with Obamacare and its consequences, and for one rare time, these politicians were not lying when they said that. If this bill becomes law, however, they will no longer be able to deny their part in Obamacare, unless they lie. And the public will know they are lying when they do.

Update: Heritage Foundation releases its own analysis which says this bill will encourage the growth of government.

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In new Obamacare vote, Republican leaders offering bribes

Finding out what’s in it, part 2: The Senate Republican leadership is offering Senator Lisa Murkowsky (R-Alaska) specific rewrites favoring just Alaska in order to buy her vote on their new attempt to revise Obamacare.

The bribe includes three provisions, but this one I think is most corrupt:

Alaska (along with Hawaii) will continue to receive Obamacare’s premium tax credits while they are repealed for all other states. It appears this exemption will not affect Alaska receiving its state allotment under the new block grant in addition to the premium tax credits.

There are also some indications that this secret bill for which no text has been made public, as far as I can tell, also keeps the Obamacare requirement that insurance companies will not be allowed to deny anyone insurance no matter how sick they are. This is the provision that is essentially bankrupting the industry and forcing premiums to skyrocket. By keeping it, these Republicans reveal their overall support for Obamacare.

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Why Obama spied on Trump

Link here. The article sums up the evidence that now exists that shows that not only was a Trump campaign manager wiretapped, officials in the Obama administration use national security laws to instigate other spying against their political opponent, and then lied about it repeatedly when caught.

Last week, CNN revealed (and excused) one phase of the Obama spying operation on Trump. After lying about it on MSNBC, Susan Rice admitted unmasking the identities of Trump officials to Congress.

Rice was unmasking the names of Trump officials a month before leaving office. The targets may have included her own successor, General Flynn, who was forced out of office using leaked surveillance. While Rice’s targets weren’t named, the CNN story listed a meeting with Flynn, Bannon and Kushner. Bannon was Trump’s former campaign chief executive and a senior adviser. Kushner is a senior adviser. Those are exactly the people you spy on to get an insight into what your political opponents plan to do.

Now the latest CNN spin piece informs us that secret FISA orders were used to spy on the conversations of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The surveillance was discontinued for lack of evidence and then renewed under a new warrant. This is part of a pattern of FISA abuses by Obama Inc. which never allowed minor matters like lack of evidence to dissuade them from new FISA requests.

There’s more. Read it all. In my youth, people would have quickly gone to prison for this abuse of power, because in my youth, members of both political parties were wise enough to know that to let this kind of abuse go unpunished would expose them to worse evils. And they knew they would be first targets should those evils arrive. Today, the political class is generally corrupt, and doesn’t understand the hell it is building for itself.

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“I am just in shock how no one actually cares about the policy any more.”

The quote above, from this article. is from a Republican lobbyist, and is in reference to the new so-called Obamacare replacement bill being pushed right now in the Senate, not because it will repeal Obamacare but because it will provide Senators a fake vote where they can make believe they repealed Obamacare..

The bottom line: The repeal-and-replace bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy is gaining steam because it has the appearance of gaining steam — not because of the changes it would make. “If there was an oral exam on the contents of the proposal, graded on a generous curve, only two Republicans could pass it. And one of them isn’t Lindsey Graham,” a senior GOP aide told Caitlin.

I could condemn the Republican leadership here, but the fault actually lies with the press, which is allows them to do this. The number of fake insane bills with “feel good” names in the past two decades that the press has accepted with little analysis is legion. This is only another in that long list.

If you want to find out some real details about this new fake bill, read the whole article. It provides enough information to sicken your stomach about any bill our bankrupt Congress writes.

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NASA’s international outreach continues

Barack Obama’s demand that NASA focus on teaching international students, especially Muslims, on how to get into space is continuing in the Trump administration.

The list of countries participating, available here, is not confined only to Muslim countries, and seems reasonable: Australia, Brazil, Israel, Jordan, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). At the same time, it is a reasonable question whether this should really one of NASA’s focuses.

Note one interesting detail. The European Space Agency is listed as one of these nations, but its program is presently on hold for reasons that are not explained.

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Trump administration shuts down NIH anti-gun research

The NIH has quietly shelved all funding for gun research, most of which had been instigated under the Obama administration as a propaganda tool to promote gun control.

The article from Science is remarkable — coming from a mainstream academic source — in that it provides a fair description of the perspective of the NRA and gun-owners.

Note: Reader Kirk noted my error in originally crediting this article to Nature, when it truth it was Science that published it. Post corrected. Sorry!

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Obamacare collapse in Virginia

Finding out what’s in it: With the departure from Virginia of the last insurance companies because of Obamacare’s unworkable rules, in 2018 people will be unable to buy individual health insurance in more than half the state.

Should nothing change before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s Sept. 27 deadline for insurers to participate, parts of Virginia, including the Roanoke and New River valleys, will be the only places in the U.S. without at least one insurer, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Open enrollment starts Nov. 1 for policies that take effect Jan. 1.

This year, three insurance companies offered individual policies in the Roanoke and New River valleys.

But this spring, Aetna announced that it would no longer participate in the marketplace. Last month, Anthem followed suit. And Optima Health said last week that it would no longer offer individual policies in areas of Virginia where its parent, Sentara Health, did not have hospitals and providers. Although Optima covered only a small percentage of people in western Virginia, the company had been expected to fill the void after Anthem announced its departure, meaning it would have been on track to sell 100 percent of the individual policies in the region.

Of course, the blame falls on the Republicans, who had nothing to do with writing or passing Obamacare and have tried endlessly to either get it repealed or revised but have had all these actions blocked by the Democrats and a handful of fake Republicans who really are Democrats in sheep’s clothing. Sadly, it appears that most of the Republican Party has thrown in the towel and has decided it isn’t worth the effort any longer fixing Obamacare. Instead, we shall see the entire collapse of the health insurance industry.

Too bad no one predicted this collapse, except for every single reasonable conservative in the entire country.

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Judge comes down hard on IRS for its harassment of conservatives

Still working for the Democratic Party, with Trump’s approval! A judge has come down hard on the IRS in its stonewalling related to lawsuits and investigations of its harassment of conservative groups during Barack Obama’s administration.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the IRS to name the specific employees the agency blames for targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and said the government must prove it has ceased the targeting.

Judge Reggie B. Walton also said the IRS must explain the reasons for the delays for 38 groups that are part of a lawsuit in the District of Columbia, where they are still looking for a full accounting of their treatment. Judge Walton approved another round of limited discovery in the case and laid out six questions that the IRS must answer, including the employees’ names, why the groups were targeted and how the IRS has tried to prevent a repeat.

The IRS has until October 16 to compile. The article notes a more significant aspect of this continuing scandal: Why hasn’t “drain the swamp” Trump done anything to clean house at the IRS? Why has he allowed the IRS to continue its stonewalling? And why hasn’t he fired IRS head John Koskinen, who has clearly obstructed the investigations, lied to Congress, and even worked to have evidence destroyed?

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Aetna to withdraw from all Obamacare exchanges

Finding out what’s in it: Aetna has decided to withdraw from all Obamacare exchanges, after seeing its profits increase when it reduced its participation partly last year.

Aetna has been gradually withdrawing from the Obamacare exchanges. It had decided to pull out of the exchanges in other states because it lost $700 million between 2014 and 2016 and was projected to lose $200 million in 2017 despite having already significantly reduced its participation in the exchanges to only four states.

A disproportionate number of unhealthy customers have signed up for the exchanges, which provide tax subsidies to pay for insurance, causing unbalanced risk pools for many insurers. Aetna also has cited uncertainty over the future of the law and over whether it will receive federal payments as a contributing factor to its decision. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words illustrate the fundamental problem with the Obamacare law. It forces insurance companies to take on sick people who had failed to buy insurance before they became sick. Such an insurance model is unsustainable. Insurance works because enough people buy it before they need it, thus helping to fund those who need it. If everyone can wait until they need it then there is no pool to fund any payouts, and the insurance company goes bankrupt.

As is happening with Obamacare.

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John McCain, Liar

In commenting about the failure yesterday by Senate Republicans to pass a trimmed down version of an Obamcare repeal by a vote of 49-51, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has this to say:

There are going be a great many Americans who tonight feel a sense of betrayal. …If you stand up and campaign and say we are going to repeal Obamacare and you vote for Obamacare, those are not consistent. And the American people are entirely justified in saying any politician who told me that and voted the other way didn’t tell me the truth. They lied to me.

He then added:

“No party can remain in power by lying to the American people.”

Cruz is right, but only partly. The entire Republican Party did not lie to its voters. Instead, a small contingent of fake Republicans lied, led by John McCain, king liar and the most likely person to stab a friend in the back I have ever seen.
» Read more

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Repeal of Obamacare fails in Senate

Not surprisingly, a clean not-quite-full repeal of Obamacare failed today in the Senate, 45 to 54.

As expected, every Democrat voted to endorse their failed law. They were aided by seven fake Republicans who should all be challenged in primaries. These were Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, John McCain of Arizona, and Rob Portman of Ohio.

A lot of pundits are going to claim that this failure to repeal is a betrayal of the Republican Party. I actually don’t see it as that. Had Mitch McConnell not allowed this vote I might have agreed, but he did allow it, thus forcing those from both parties who support Obamacare to go on record. We now know who those people are.

The real problem is that too many people in the U.S. no longer believe in freedom, instead want a government hand out, and have thus elected legislators (from both parties) who are only too happy to give it to them in exchange for power and wealth. If we are going to get rid of this bad law, as well as many other bad leftwing government policies, we need to vote these specific people out of office.

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Mueller widens witch hunt investigation

Special counsel Robert Mueller today widened his investigation on President Trump’s contacts with Russia during the campaign to now include Trump’s entire business transactions.

I haven’t posted anything about the Russian collusion story until now, because on its face it is absurd. As noted repeatedly by even Trump’s critics, there is no evidence of any illegal acts by anyone. Moreover, the media focus on the Russians distracts from the heart of the DNC hack, that it revealed illegal pay-offs and corruption by Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, and others in the Democratic Party. I don’t really care that much how these emails were obtained since what they uncovered is far worse.

What prompts me to post now is to underline the corruption of Robert Mueller himself. It is already well known that the investigation team he has put together includes at least seven Democratic donors, including an attorney who donated $34,000 to Democratic candidates. What I want to highlight is his blatant partisan actions to help cover up the IRS scandal for the Obama administration. I only remembered this recently, but when Mueller was called to testify to the House about his newly begun FBI investigation into that scandal, he couldn’t name the head of that investigation, even though he was the man who would have appointed such a person only a month prior.

I once again have embedded below the fold Mueller’s testimony in 2013 before Congress. Not only does he not know who is running his so-called IRS scandal investigation, he admits that not one victim of the IRS scandal had yet been contacted. In fact, none of these people were ever contacted, and that investigation never took place. Mueller stone-walled it for Obama, so that administration and president could get away with their use of the IRS as a weapon against their opponents. And of course, the Democratic mainstream media assisted them in this stone-wall by never pursuing the story. They let it fall, as they do today with the content of those hacked Clinton emails, into the memory hole.

And even if there were improprieties by Trump and his campaign, does anyone with even the slightest objectivity believe that Mueller’s investigation is going to non-partisan? I don’t. This is a witch-hunt, and it always has been.

And if you disagree with me I dare you to watch the video below. Mueller comes off clearly as a tool of the Democrats, something he still is today.
» Read more

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Public school teachers now required to do student mental health assessments

What could possibly go wrong? A federal law passed in 2015 and signed by President Obama now requires public school teachers to do mental health assessments of their elementary school students, without obtaining parental permission.

You read that right: if you live in an ESSA state, your child’s mental health will be assessed by a non-medical professional in a non-medical context. The paperwork will not be protected by HIPAA laws, which means that the school district can share a teacher’s assessment of your child’s mental health with literally anyone. Parents are not asked for permission before the DESSA is administered, nor do they have any say over where the records go once they are obtained.

Worse, the assessments require teachers to fill out a form with 72 questions on each student, a time-consuming task that will likely interfere with unimportant things like teaching.

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NASA shuts down asteroid capture mission

Faced with years of congressional disinterest, NASA this week finally decided to close out its asteroid redirect mission.

The project was first pushed by President Obama as a mission to send astronauts to an asteroid. Then they downgraded it to using an unmanned spacecraft to bring a large asteroid back to lunar space, where astronauts would then visit it. Then they downgraded this to bringing back a small asteroid, which was later downgraded to bringing back a small boulder. In the process the manned mission got pushed farther and farther into the future, until it dwindled out of sight.

The mission never had any congressional support, so it was never going to happen. With the end of the Obama administration NASA can now finally stop making believe that it might happen and shut it down.

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Senate introduces its version of Trumpcare

Failure theater: The Senate today introduced its version of an Obamacare replacement, and proved once again that the Republican leadership in Congress has no interest in repealing Obamacare and the parts of that law that make it economically unsustainable.

The most popular provisions of Obamacare are kept in place in the bill, including language allowing children to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan until age 26 and preserving coverage for people with pre-existing illnesses.

The bill does repeal some of Obamacare, but without freeing the insurance company from the requirement to accept anyone, whether they are sick or not, makes it impossible for the entire health insurance business to make any profit. It also does not appear that this bill frees insurance companies to offer any kind of insurance they wish, including the popular and less expensive catastrophic insurance plans that Obamacare banned.

The problem here is that the Republican leadership is timid. They fear the squealing of pigs, and thus attempt to come up with plans that will please those pigs. The result? A mish-mosh that no one likes and that solves nothing.

Update: The Senate’s own freedom caucus speaks: Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul reject Senate bill, as written.

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Republican Trumpcare bill might require another vote

Failure theater: The House Republican leadership has not yet officially sent their Obamacare revision bill to the Senate because they have discovered they may have to vote on it again.

According to several aides and other procedural experts, if Republicans send the bill to the Senate now and the CBO later concludes it doesn’t save at least $2 billion, it would doom the bill and Republicans would have to start their repeal effort all over with a new budget resolution. Congressional rules would likely prevent Republicans from fixing the bill after it’s in the Senate, the aides said…

If Republican leaders hold onto the bill until the CBO report is released, then Ryan and his team could still redo it if necessary. That would require at least one more House vote of some sort…

The Republican leadership is a joke. If required to toss a rock into the ocean while standing at the end of a 500 foot long pier they’d still miss, and hit themselves in the face in the process.

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In 2016 federal government improperly paid out $144 billion

Our government in action! In testimony before the Senate Budget Committee yesterday, the controller general revealed that the federal government improperly paid out $144 billion in 2016.

The problem is growing, he said, from $125 billion in 2014; to $137 billion in 2015; to the most recent estimate of $144 billion in 2016. “This includes estimates for 112 programs at 22 federal agencies, so it is a pervasive problem,” he added.

Since 2003 – when Congress required many executive departments and agencies to estimate the amount of improper payments annually – the cumulative total is estimated to be “in excess of $1.2 trillion,” Dodaro said. “So it’s a significant amount of money.” Dodaro said three big federal programs – Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit — account for most (75 percent) of the improper payments. “But there are a number of programs across government where this problem is an issue,” he said.

And the problem is worse than the numbers indicate, because 18 “risk-susceptible” programs – including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — do not report estimates at all. SNAP (food stamps) stopped reporting in 2015. And the $144 billion in 2016 does not include estimates from the Defense Department, which could be a sizeable number, Dodaro said.

Obviously, the solution is to hire more auditors and increase the budgets at these agencies so they can better track the improper payments. Simply cutting these budgets, well now, that’s a terrible idea.

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Aetna leaves last two Obamacare exchanges

Finding out what’s in it: Aetna has pulled out of its last two Obamacare exchanges, in Delaware and Nebraska.

Aetna projected more than $200 million in losses from its exchange plan businesses this year following a loss of $700 million for 2014 through 2016. The insurer attributed the losses to “marketplace structural issues, that have led to co-op failures and carrier exits, and subsequent risk pool deterioration.” Aetna said it had 964,000 individual commercial plan members as of the end of 2016, but that number dropped to 255,000 at the end of March.

Essentially, Obamacare is destroying the health insurance industry, because no insurance company can afford to offer insurance when anyone can simply wait until they are sick — “a pre-existing condition” in the politically stupid parlance of the time — before buying insurance. This also means that the Republican plan, in whatever form it will be take when it finally reaches Trump’s desk, will do nothing to save the industry either, since it appears that the Republicans are terrified of being called mean and will thus keep the requirement that insurance companies sell insurance to anyone, whether they are sick or not.

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Senate to ignore House Obamacare replacement, write its own bill

Failure theater: Senate Republicans today said in interviews that they plan to ignore the House Obamacare replacement bill, passed earlier today, and write their own bill from scratch.

A Senate proposal is now being developed by a 12-member working group. It will attempt to incorporate elements of the House bill, senators said, but will not take up the House bill as a starting point and change it through the amendment process. “The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

“We are going to draft a Senate bill,” added Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “That is what I’ve been told.”

I have no faith in what we will get in the end, mainly because it is apparent these guys are not starting from the premise of eliminated the law and its unworkable regulations. Instead, they are proposing, as the House did, to install their own unworkable regulations.

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Republican Trumpcare passes House

The Republican-controlled House today passed a replacement healthcare bill that would not repeal Obamacare but merely tinker with it around the edges.

Anyone who thinks this is an Obamacare repeal is fooling themselves. A repeal would be very simple. The details of this new bill are so complicated that I have not been able to figure them out, even after reading numerous articles, both pro and con, about them. In other words, should this bill get past the Senate it will do little good, and will only allow the collapse of the health insurance industry to continue.

Getting this past the Senate is another story. It looks like the plan here was to pass it in the House, so these creeps could lie and claim they passed an Obamacare repeal, and then have the Senate kill it for them.

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Submarine test launch by Iran of cruise missile fails

How’s that Iran deal working out for you? An Iranian test launch of a cruise missile from a submarine yesterday appears to have been a failure.

Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a submarine in the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday but the test failed, two U.S. officials told Fox News. An Iranian Yono-class “midget” submarine conducted the missile launch. North Korea and Iran are the only two countries in the world that operate this type of submarine.

In February, Iran claimed to have successfully tested a submarine-launched missile. It was not immediately clear if Tuesday’s test was the first time Iran had attempted to launch a missile underwater from a submarine.

This test is not surprising, considering that it also appears that Iran is using the billions they obtained from the Obama administration as part of the nuclear deal to fund a massive military buildup.

Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports.

Iranian leaders have stated since the Iran deal was enacted that they are using the massive amounts of cash released under the agreement to fund the purchase of new military equipment and other armaments. Iran also has pursued multi-million dollar arms deals with Russia since economic sanctions were nixed as part of the deal.

But hey, what’s a few bombs between enemies, eh?

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Former Obama official confirms climate data manipulation by bureaucrats

A former Obama official has confirmed that during the Obama administrations bureaucrats in the federal government routinely misused or tampered with climate data in order to promote the theory that humans are causing global warming.

Former Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin told The Wall Street Journal Monday that bureaucrats within former President Barack Obama’s administration spun scientific data to manipulate public opinion. “What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong,” Koonin said, referring to elements within the Obama administration he said were responsible for manipulating climate data.

He pointed to a National Climate Assessment in 2014 showing hurricane activity has increased from 1980 as an illustration of how federal agencies fudged climate data. Koonin said the NCA’s assessment was technically incorrect. “What they forgot to tell you, and you don’t know until you read all the way into the fine print is that it actually decreased in the decades before that,” he said. The U.N. published reports in 2014 essentially mirroring Koonin’s argument.

This story does not prove that human-caused global warming is not happening. What it does tell us, as have many other stories previously, is that we can no longer trust the data issued by federal government sources, and that a major housecleaning is necessary in order to make that trust possible again.

Whether Donald Trump is the president capable of doing that housecleaning remains an open question. Some of his actions suggest he is. Some suggest he is not. Overall, he appears a transitional figure who will begin that housecleaning in a relatively superficial way, but lay the groundwork for someone in the future who will push it through with much more success.

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“Limited in attention span, all about big talk and identity politics, but uninterested in substance.”

Link here. Read it all. The disgusting refusal of the Republican leadership to lead, to do what they have promised for seven years and repeal Obamacare, demonstrates their fundamental corruption. Another quote:

In this case, the hardliners were playing a productive role by pointing out the real policy consequences of the piecemeal approach being pursued by the House leadership. Though we’ll never know for sure how the numbers might have looked if a vote had taken place, it’s clear that many centrist members of the Republican caucus were also prepared to vote this bill down. House conservatives, if they could be blamed for anything, it’s for having the audacity to urge leadership to actually honor seven years of pledges to voters to repeal Obamacare. If anybody was moving the goal posts, it wasn’t Freedom Caucusers, it was those who were trying to sell a bill that kept much of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in place as a free market repeal and replace plan.

And then there’s this. Make sure you read it all.

Update: And read this as well: “While Democrats lie in pursuit of their goals and aspirations, Republicans lie in pursuit of the other side’s ideals.”

I am reminded of the political situation in the late 1960s. The baby boom generation wanted a leftist Congress passing leftist laws. They had the momentum and the culture behind them. Congress was reluctant to go that way. It took more than a decade, until Jimmy Carter’s administration, before a really leftist Congress was in place and able to pass that agenda.

We are in the same boat now. The left is losing ground steadily. The conservatives are on the rise, and want their agenda passed. The problem is that Congress is behind the times and refusing to face this new cultural reality. Whether it ever will remains a question, however, since it is unclear to me whether the right has the same determination and no retreat approach held by the left in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Republican Obamacare bill does not have votes

It appears that the Obamacare bill put forth by the Republican leadership in the House does not have the votes for passage. There are also reports that Ryan will pull the bill rather than have it go down to defeat.

You want a bill that all Republicans can (and have) supported, along with the people that voted for them? Re-introduce this bill.

(a) PPACA.—Effective on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148) is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.

(b) Health care-Related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.—Effective on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–152) are repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such title or subtitle, respectively, are restored or revived as if such title and subtitle had not been enacted.

That’s the entire legal text of the bill. It is very simple, and gets us back to where we were in 2010, which might not have been a perfect place, but is a good place to start if you want to consider reform. Tinkering with the crap law that Obama and the Democrats gave us is stupid, and will accomplish nothing.

And if the Democrats filibuster this bill? Let them. Campaigning for Obamacare has clearly not been a good thing for them (see 2010, 2014, and 2016), and in the 2018 elections the Democrats are very vulnerable, with many running in strongly Republican states.

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Vote on Republican Obamacare bill canceled

The Republican leadership has canceled today’s planned vote on their Obamacare replacement bill, having failed to get the support of that bill from conservatives.

The link is to mainstream news outlet ABC, which typically reports this bill as an effort “to repeal and replace ‘Obamacare.'” This is not a repeal bill. To call it that is to lie about what it is. All it does is tinker a bit with Obamacare, at its outer edges, while cementing the law in place by making the Republican Party now partly responsible for it.

Kudos to the House Freedom Caucus and its conservative members for demanding a full repeal and not backing down. They are right. Pass a full repeal, let the Democrats in the Senate fillabuster its passage. The 2018 elections are now getting closer, and too many of those Democratic senators are vulnerable. Let them campaign on that filibuster. It will do them as much good as it did in 2010, 2014, and 2016.

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Republican healthcare bill faces defeat in House

It appears the Republican leadership lacks the votes in the House needed to pass its Obamacare replacement bill.

It appears that the Freedom Caucus in the House is generally holding firm, with more than 21 members agreeing that this is a bad bill, just as bad as Obamacare. Why vote for it, and make yourself a partner in this bad business? Consider for example this quote:

Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa), one of the few Freedom Caucus members who has a close relationship with GOP leadership, said Trump’s remarks in conference — and the building pressure — just “steels my resolve.”

“The way it stands right now, no,” he would not vote for the bill, Blum told POLITICO. “Not because of the Freedom Caucus, but because I’m a free-marketer and I’m a businessman. … And the present bill doesn’t give us a free market. I want health insurance premiums to come down. … This bill doesn’t give us a free market.”

The Republican leadership was able to successfully pass numerous full repeals of Obamacare when Obama was president and could veto them. Now that we have Trump, a president who will sign a repeal, they suddenly seem incapable of finding where they put those repeal bills. Very shameful.

Repeal the thing. Cleanly. This is what the American people want. They will thank you for it.

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A Ted Cruz telecon

Last night I did a long radio appearance with Robert Pratt in Texas. While I was on the air with him he received a notice from Senator Ted Cruz’s office, announcing a press telecon today on the just-passed NASA authorization bill. Pratt asked me if I would be willing to attend that telecon as his press correspondence. I agreed.

The telecon has just ended. Cruz’s statements about that NASA authorization were very uncommitted and vague, though he clearly wants to encourage private space. He also was careful not to say bad things about SLS/Orion, since it sends a lot of money to Texas.

I asked him about the lack of any mention of Earth science research in the authorization bill. He noted that during the Obama administration NASA’S climate research had become politicized, and it is his hope that this will now end, that NASA will continue to do this research but that “it will no longer be used for political purposes.” Like his comments about SLS/Orion, this was a careful answer that avoided setting off a firestorm of controversy.

Cruz did say two things of note however during the press teleconference.

  • Cruz and family is having dinner with Trump tonight
  • Cruz has reservations about the Republican proposal on Obamacare

It appears that Cruz is putting aside the ugly events of the campaign in order to try to exert influence on Trump now. It also appears that he intends to discuss the bad Obamacare replacement bill with Trump, pushing for changes to it.

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Republican leadership endorses Obamacare

Yesterday the Republican leadership in Congress unveiled their proposed replacement for Obamacare.

This is not a repeal. It proudly keeps many of the Obamacare provisions that have made health insurance unprofitable, which is why Obamacare and the entire health insurance industry is going bankrupt. First, the Republican proposal keeps the Obamacare requirement that forces insurance companies to accept applicants with pre-existing conditions at no extra charge. Insurance cannot work under this condition. Second, the plan forces insurance companies to cover the children of customers until they are 26.

Several articles today outline the stupidity of this new plan:

From the first article above:

The first thing to understand about the GOP healthcare bill is that it is not merely Obamacare-lite or a bad “replacement” bill. It doesn’t repeal the core of Obamacare in the first place. In fact, the few parts that it repeals or tweaks within a few years will actually intensify the death spiral of Obamacare when mixed with the core regulatory structure, exacerbated by the subsidies that they do keep. And this time, the GOP will own it politically. All of it.

As I say, this is downright stupid. By trying to “fix” this horrible law, all the Republican leadership accomplishes is to poison themselves with it, something Republicans have so far been able to avoid.

The Republicans shouldn’t be passing a different version of Obamacare, they should be trying to repeal it entirely. If the Democrats continue to obstruct, they will then have to face the voters in 2018 in an election that does not favor them to begin with.

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Republican leaders propose Obamacare revisions

Cowards: The House Republican leadership today put forth a series of proposals for revisingnot repealing — Obamacare.

A packet distributed to lawmakers at the meeting and obtained by The Hill says the GOP bill will include tax credits, an expansion of health savings accounts, money for high risk pools to care for the sick and a major restructuring of Medicaid to cap federal payments.

No dollar figures for any of the Republican proposals have been presented yet. Lawmakers said that is because the Congressional Budget Office is still analyzing the plan.

Nowhere do these proposals deal with repealing Obamacare’s ban on low-cost catastrophic health insurance plans. In fact, these proposal do little to repeal any of Obamacare’s worst regulations, which make the entire concept of health insurance unsustainable. Instead, these proposals nibble at the edges of the law, and will only serve to make things worse. For example, the proposals will repeal all the taxes that pay for Obamacare’s costs, will eliminate the mandates that force people to buy insurance, but will do nothing to relieve insurance companies from the law’s requirements, such as forcing them to accept every applicant, no matter how sick. Such a crazy arrangement will guarantee that no one will buy health insurance until they need it, making it entirely unprofitable.

The whole mess is simply too complicated. The time has come to do what Alexander the Great did: rather than try to untie the Gordian knot, he simply took a sword and cut it. Congress should do the same to Obamacare. Only then will the health insurance industry have a chance of recovery.

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Freedom Caucus to push for swift Obamacare repeal

In a direct clash with the Republican leadership that increasingly wants to slow down a repeal of Obamacare, the conservative House tea party group dubbed the Freedom Caucus announced today that they will push for an immediate repeal of the law.

The House Republican leadership is made up of a bunch of cowards. They fear the polls. They fear the press. They fear the astroturf demonstrations paid for by the left. They fear everything. And they believe in nothing, because if they did believe in freedom and restricting the power of government they would move quickly to repeal Obamacare and let the chips of freedom fall where they may.

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