Tag Archives: regulation

The American city-rural political divide

Though the article at the link focuses on how in this year’s election the Democratic Party has lost its traditional support from white blue collar Democrats, I think it illustrates quite forcefully the increasing political polarization between the cities and the rural parts of the country.

“There are 490 counties in Appalachia technically, which is defined by federal law. Hillary Clinton won 21 counties in that region,” he said. And that is it. She did not win a single county in Appalachia that is mostly white, non-college-educated and has a population of under 100,000 people.

Not one county.

Looking at the map, the 21 counties she won were either college campuses like Virginia Tech, Cornell, Penn State and Mississippi State or counties in major metropolitan areas like Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Winston-Salem, N.C., Youngstown, Ohio, and Pittsburgh. And she also won five counties in Mississippi that are nearly majority black. “I went back and looked at the home precinct in Tennessee where I grew up and Bill Clinton wins it, Al Gore gets forty percent, Obama gets 28 percent and she got 18 percent. In short, Donald Trump got 80 percent of that vote,” he said, astounded at the cultural shift among Appalachians.

What does all of this data tell you about America? Todd says it is simple, “There are absolutely no more blue-collar whites in the Democratic Party. They just don’t exist, even the ones who want there to be have recognized there is no room for them,” he said. These voters had stayed with the Democrats forever and now 80 percent of them in Appalachia have voted Republican. “That means they don’t know anyone who voted for her,” he said.

This polarization also explains why it is becoming more common for the choice of the electoral college to not match the popular vote. Democratic voters are increasingly packed into big cities that cover very small amounts of area. The electoral college as well as Congress were specifically designed to prevent such concentrations from dominating elections.

These results also show that the Democrats are not doing a very good job convincing anyone to vote for them outside of their reliable core constituencies. In fact, if anything the policies of the Democratic Party has been repelling everyone away from it, except in those big cities where a large percentage of the voters are their direct welfare clients, dependent on government aid.

Luxembourg establishes its own legal framework for asteroid mining

The competition heats up: Luxembourg on November 11 announced that it is establishing its own legal framework to protect the profits of any private asteroid mining effort.

Because the UN Outer Space Treaty forbids them from claiming any territory in space, this new law essentially says that Luxembourg law will instead be applied specifically to the resources mined. Or to put it in more colloquial terms, “Finders, Keepers,” though it comes with a lot of complex further regulation required to satisfy that treaty.

The draft law also lays down the regulations for the authorization and the supervision of space resources utilization missions, including both the exploration and use of such resources. Whoever intends to undertake a space resources utilization mission will be required to obtain an authorization to do so, for each specific and determined mission. The text sets forth the necessity for a book of obligations for any mission, such as activities to be carried in or out of Luxembourg, to allow government supervision of the activities of operators and regulating their rights and obligations. The legislation is expected to enter into effect in early 2017.

This complexity will cost money unnecessarily, and also require an unnecessary bureaucracy with a great deal of power over the actions of space companies. It illustrates again how really bad the Outer Space Treaty is, and how it will oppress future spacefarers. The sooner the treaty is dumped the better. If we don’t do it here on Earth, I guarantee that the people of space will do it, as soon as they become self-sufficient enough to thumb their noses at the ground-pounders on the mother planet.

Commercial space industry meets to set its own safety standards

Because of legal restrictions that prevent the FAA from imposing its own safety regulations on the commercial space industry, the industry itself is forming its own committee to work out its own standards.

At a meeting here Oct. 24, ASTM International, an organization founded in 1898 that develops voluntary consensus standards for a wide range of industries, agreed to move ahead with the creation of a committee that will work on creating such standards for commercial launch vehicles, spacecraft and spaceports. “It will allow industry to use a 110-year-old process to produce consensus standards,” said Oscar Garcia, chairman of the standards working group of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), during a meeting of that working group here Oct. 25. The new committee, he said, “will develop standards and related roadmaps to address activities such as human spaceflight occupant safety standards, spaceports and space traffic management.”

A total of 53 people representing 29 companies and organizations attended that kickoff meeting, said Christine DeJong, director of business development for ASTM International, at the COMSTAC working group meeting. The committee won’t be formally created until after the completion an internal ASTM review process.

This is excellent news. It is far better that the industry voluntarily puts together and imposes its own safety standards than if the federal government imposes those rules. The government can’t possibly know the situation as well as the industry. This will guarantee that those rules will be not only work, but they will be cost effective and will not act to squelch innovation and experimentation.

Obamacare premiums skyrocketing again

Finding out what’s in it: The Obama administration today admitted that Obamacare premiums will skyrocket next year as the number of insurance companies available to consumers continues to decrease.

Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less. Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will only have plans from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles. “Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period,” said Larry Levitt, who tracks the health care law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Democrats wrote this monstrous stupid law. They forced it through Congress without a single Republican vote. Everything that has gone wrong since was predicted then, in 2010, by conservatives. Yet today, the public is still voting for these same Democrats.

We truly are facing the coming of a new dark age.

In related news, all the major hospitals in Chicago, home base for Obama and a Democratic Party stronghold for more than a century, have pulled out of Obamacare.

Three GOP offices have now been attacked

The third Republican offices in the past two weeks was attacked today.

An Indiana Republican Party office was vandalized last week after someone tossed two bricks through the window, officials said Monday. That news comes just a day after a Republican headquarters in North Carolina was firebombed. The Sunday blaze injured none, however, a perpetrator also spray painted the message “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else” on a nearby building.

An office in San Antonio used by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign was burglarized on Wednesday, FOX29 reported. Police detained a suspect around 5:30 a.m. and authorities believe that person targeted other buildings in the area, too.

The third case was a burglary, so it might have nothing to do with politics. Nonetheless, it is fascinating how the press and the Democrats always scream that Republican supporters are dangerous and could become violent at any time, incited by the evil words of Donald Trump, but somehow almost all the acts of violence we see are committed against conservatives.

In related news, “We could have died”.

Vanishing Obamacare plans

Finding out what’s in it: More than a million people are losing their health insurance plans this year as insurers increasingly flee Obamacare.

The number above was determined by

At least 1.4 million people in 32 states will lose the Obamacare plan they have now, according to state officials contacted by Bloomberg. That’s largely caused by Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and some state or regional insurers quitting the law’s markets for individual coverage.

…Nationwide estimates of the number of people losing their current plans are higher. For example, Charles Gaba, who tracks the law at ACASignups.net, estimates that 2 million to 2.5 million people in the U.S. will lose their current plans, compared with 2 million a year ago. Gaba’s estimate is based on insurance company membership data.

For the people losing plans, there are fewer and fewer choices. One estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation predicts that for at least 19 percent of the people in Obamacare’s individual market next year there will be only one insurer to choose from.

Obviously, the solution is to ask the people that wrote this bad law to fix it. We should all vote Democratic on election day, and help make this disaster even worse!

The first nation in space?

A science research center has announced it is forming an independent nation in space which anyone can join.

If you are 18 or over and have an email address, you can apply to become a ‘citizen’ of Asgardia today. At the time of this writing, more than 4,900 people have signed up, including at least one Popular Science editor. “When the number of those applications goes above 100,000 we can officially apply to the UN for the status of state,” said Ashurbeyli, adding that Asgardians would not have to give up citizenship in their countries of origin.

The group hopes to launch its first satellite in 2017 or 2018. How it will avoid being under the jurisdiction of any other country remains to me a mystery.

Eventually, when there are thriving reasonably self-sufficient colonies in space, circumstances will demand that they declare their independence from what is becoming an increasingly oppressive Earth culture. Until then, declarations like Asgardia are nothing more than publicity stunts that are not going to go anywhere.

The powerless GOP

Obama is imposing an unprecedented number of new regulations in his final months in office, and the Republican leadership says it is helpless to do anything about it.

Data compiled by the Heritage Foundation found that the Obama administration issued 184 major rules during its first six years. The conservative organization, citing regulators’ estimates, says those could come with a price tag of almost $80 billion a year. The American Action Forum, which dubs itself as a “center-right” think tank, concludes that since Jan. 1 of this year, the administration has picked up the pace, finalizing 60 new rules and proposing 60 more at a potential cost of $16.5 billion next year alone.

Republican lawmakers and independent experts expect more to come. But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas told Roll Call that his party cannot do much because “the framers of the Constitution didn’t give us a lot of tools that didn’t involve a presidential signature to overturn them.” [emphasis mine]

Excuse me, Senator Cornyn, but the framers of the Constitution gave Congress all the power. All you have to do is read the Constitution, a document only 16 pages long (excluding amendments), to find out. One would think a sitting Senator might do that once in awhile.

The problem is that Congress for decades has abdicated its responsibilities to the bureaucratic wing of the executive branch, and in the recent years the Republican leadership has further chickened out when voters demanded that they take some of those responsibilities back. The Republicans could very easily shut the whole shebang down, which might finally force some compromise from the Democrats. Until they do, however, expect no compromise from the left, which keeps getting exactly what it wants.

Feds mistakenly grant citizenship to more than 800 potentially dangerous immigrants

Does this make you feel safer? The federal government has mistakenly granted citizenship to more than 800 immigrants who for many reasons are considered security risks.

The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general found that the immigrants used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and such discrepancies weren’t caught because their fingerprints were missing from government databases. DHS said in an emailed statement that an initial review of these cases suggest that some of the individuals may have ultimately qualified for citizenship, and that the lack of digital fingerprint records does not necessarily mean they committed fraud.

The report does not identify any of the immigrants by name, but Inspector General John Roth’s auditors said they were all from “special interest countries” — those that present a national security concern for the United States — or neighboring countries with high rates of immigration fraud. The report did not identify those countries.

As I’ve noted many times, the federal government is not only bankrupt, it is today totally incapable of doing any job right. We should stop depending on it for anything. And we should certainly shut the faucet of tax dollars we are presently pouring into it. The discussion should not be what is the right tax scheme is for providing funds to the federal government, but how quickly can we shut as many of its corrupt and incompetent agencies down and fire as many of its corrupt workers as possible.

Federal agencies question establishment of SpaceX spaceport and three liquefied natural gas plants in Brownsville

Two federal agencies are questioning the safety of establishing three liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants near SpaceX’s new spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reviewing the applications for the LNG export terminals, which plan to take natural gas from the Eagle Ford south of San Antonio, liquefy it and export the LNG to overseas customers.

The Federal Aviation Administration hosted an Aug. 18 meeting to discuss space launch activities near the proposed LNG facilities, according to a FERC filing released on Thursday. During the meeting, FAA officials discussed their role and regulations regarding commercial space launches, as well as the agency’s licensing and public safety requirements prior to the launch of any future mission.

While it makes perfect sense to keep a rocket launchpad safely away from large amounts of liquefied natural gas, I found the article’s concluding paragraphs to be most revealing:

Meanwhile, environmentalists, who were critical of the SpaceX project and oppose the LNG plants, said the launch site is too close to the proposed export terminals. “This announcement should be a wake-up call and warning that putting LNG terminals within six miles of the SpaceX launch site is a bad idea,” Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club Chair Jim Chapman told the Business Journal. “Furthermore, Annova LNG wants to put its facility within the SpaceX launch closure area. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that idea won’t fly.” [emphasis mine]

Note how the environmentalists are essentially against everything. They really aren’t opposed to having these two facilities being placed too close to each other, what they really want is that nothing gets built at all. Most instructive.

Obama meets with health insurance execs in effort to save Obamacare

Finding out what’s in it: Realizing that the next open enrollment period under Obamacare will begin only a week before the election and will present voters with skyrocketing insurance premiums, higher deductables, and fewer choices, Obama met with health insurance execs on Monday to plead for their support.

The two largest insurance carriers, Aetna and UnitedHealth, did not attend, Both have already abandoned most of the Obamacare marketplaces.

The article has a lot of blather about the public relations steps the Obama administration is taking to shore up Obamacare, along with encouraging quotes from some insurance executives. This quote from the article, however, touches on reality, a reality that it appears Obama might finally be discovering. Or to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi’s words, he is finally finding out what’s in it.

But six years after passage of Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the litany of woes afflicting the Obamacare marketplaces is formidable. Enrollment has plateaued at half of what was projected. Three major insurers have largely quit, citing big losses. Double-digit rate hikes are the norm for plans across the country. And roughly one in five Americans may find just one insurer selling plans in their area when they shop for 2017 coverage.

UN Secretary-General declares climate change debate ‘over’

The certainty of politics: In a newspaper interview on Thursday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared, without doubt, that the scientific debate on human-caused global warming “is over”.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that his greatest achievement at the helm of the world’s biggest international organization was last year’s climate change accord in Paris, and he expressed open frustration that Republicans in the U.S. continue to obstruct President Obama and to politicize the subject. “The debate on science and the debate on politics as far as climate change is concerned is over,” Mr. Ban told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview. “Still, the Republican Party, they are not convinced.

“There should be no political consideration on this,” he said. “There should be no room for politics to get involved.” [emphasis mine]

I am so glad that this politician, not a scientist, knows so much about the climate field that he can dictate the future research of scientists. I am so glad that this politician, not a scientist, thinks he has the ability to tell skeptics to shut up. And I am so glad that this politician, not a scientist, can demand that skeptics shut up because he wants to keep politics out of science. (Note the irony and hypocrisy here.)

I find it most interesting that whenever anyone raises questions about the theory of human-caused global warming, the response by its advocates is almost never to discuss the actual data, but to tell the questioners to shut up, and to insist the debate is settled, even though the very existence of those questioners proves it is not.

Congressman proposes new legislation to better regulate commercial space

We’re here to help you! In an effort to guarantee that the United States remains compliant with the UN Outer Space Treaty when its private citizens begin flying commercial operations in space, Congressman Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) is proposing new legislation that would better supervise and regulate the emerging commercial space industry.

Bridenstine explained that his top concern is that a U.S. company will proceed with a plan to put a spacecraft on the Moon or conduct on-orbit servicing or some other new type of activity only to have a “near-peer” country like Russia or China complain at the last minute that the United States is violating the OST. That would put the United States “in a difficult position,” he argues. Therefore he sees the need for “airtight” legislation that sets up a process by which the government authorizes and supervises these private companies. Once a company has gone through the process, the United States can unequivocally demonstrate to the international community that it has, in fact, complied with the treaty.

The Obama Administration has been open to working with these new companies, but he wonders if that will remain true over the long term future. He insisted that Congress “needs to exert its authority and power so that whatever administration comes next or is in place 50 years from now, the process exists” and is not subject to a new administration’s “whims.” He also worried that without a legislative solution, it could become a matter of “executive branch regulation by default.” That opens the possibility of some agency saying no, with no recourse for the private sector.

Read the whole report at the link. If you believe in freedom, competition, and private enterprise, it will chill your bones. At no time does anyone suggest that maybe the United States should simply get out of the Outer Space Treaty, as we are legally allowed to do according to the treaty’s own language. The treaty itself is a very bad law, as it makes it impossible for any private citizen or company in space to be protected under U.S. law, leaving everything instead in the control of United Nations bureaucrats and the polyglot of nations, many quite tyrannical, that dictate UN policy. Bridenstine’s proposals will only make this situation worse, as it will not only keep all control in the hands of the UN, but it will saddle American citizens with further regulations imposed by our own government.

More fraud found in Obamacare

Finding out what’s in it: A new GAO investigation has found that, like its previous reports in 2014 and 2015, it is remarkably easy for fictitious applicants to get approved for both Obamacare and the large subsidizes that go with it.

Our undercover testing for the 2016 coverage year found that the eligibility determination and enrollment processes of the federal and state marketplaces we reviewed remain vulnerable to fraud, as we previously reported for the 2014 and 2015 coverage years. For each of our 15 fictitious applications, the marketplaces approved coverage, including for 6 fictitious applicants who had previously obtained subsidized coverage but did not file the required federal income-tax returns. Although IRS provides information to marketplaces on whether health-care applicants have filed required returns, the federal Marketplace and our selected state marketplace allowed applicants to instead attest that they had filed returns, saying the IRS information was not sufficiently current. The marketplaces we reviewed also relaxed documentation standards or extended deadlines for filing required documentation. After initial approval, all but one of our fictitious enrollees maintained subsidized coverage, even though we sent fictitious documents, or no documents, to resolve application inconsistencies. [emphasis in original]

This report is actually less a condemnation of Obamacare and more a condemnation of the completely incompetent and failed state of the entire federal bureaucracy. They can’t get this job right, but in truth, they pretty much can’t get any job right.

Obviously, we should therefore do what the Democrats propose and give the federal government and its bureaucracy more power and responsibility. That will surely fix things!

Another Obamacare co-op folds

Finding out what’s in it: New Jersey’s Obamacare co-op has been taken over by the state and will fold in 2017.

As noted at the link, “that leaves just six of the original 23 Obamacare co-ops in operation next year.”

In other words, Obamacare is steadily going bankrupt, and in the process it is bankrupting the health insurance business. Before the law, it was possible for individuals to buy at a somewhat reasonable price a catastrophic insurance plan that would cover you in case of disaster but required you to pay for most of your routine health care costs. Obamacare outlawed those plans (obviously, someone was lying when he said you could keep your plan if you liked it). The result however is that everyone is forced to buy at very unreasonable prices the equivalent of those same plans, since both premiums and deductibles have risen so much that everyone now has to pay for routine health care costs.

Obviously, this means we should all vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, because they more than anyone else know how to solve the problem they created. Obviously, voting for the Republicans, who predicted this disaster in great detail and with remarkable accuracy, would be a mistake, a clear demonstration of racism or something. And we wouldn’t want to be called racist by Democrats, would we?

The people directly hurt by Obamacare rises

Finding out what’s in it: A new poll shows that the number of people directly hurt by Obamacare has continued to rise.

Currently, 29% of Americans say Obamacare has hurt them and their family, up from 26% in May, and the highest Gallup has measured to date. Meanwhile, the percentage who say the ACA has helped their family dropped from 22% to 18%. The bulk of Americans, 51%, continue to say the law has “had no effect.” As more provisions of the law have taken effect over the years, the “no effect” percentage has dropped from the first reading of 70%, in early 2012.

Not surprisingly, support for Obamacare, always low, has shrunk as well. As the article at the link notes,

Wait until the next round of open enrollment starts in eight weeks. The number of people who feel the ObamaCare pain is likely to rise even further, especially in places like Tennessee, Minnesota, and other states where premiums will go up 40% or more over 2016.

The fact that in many regions there will be only one or fewer insurance options will help to underline why people increasingly hate Obamacare. Sadly, every one of these failures was predicted by conservatives back in 2010. The Democrats however were too wise and caring to listen. For them, caring is all that matters, even if it means instituting policies that destroy people’s lives.

Update on the Falcon 9 launchpad explosion investigation

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article today describing the investigation into last week’s Falcon 9 launchpad explosion, noting especially how — despite participation by the FAA, NASA, and the Air Force — SpaceX will be entirely in charge of the investigation, in accordance with present law.

The article is clearly lobbying for a change, whereby the government would have more power in these investigations. I personally think a change would be a mistake, that the law as it is now is how it should be. It was their rocket that exploded. Their business model depends on their rockets not exploding. Thus, they have the greatest self-interest in fixing the problem. The other outside players might be helpful, but their presence can only in the long run make things more difficult and slow things down, without making anything better.

The government vs the people of Louisiana

During the recent flooding in Louisiana, it was repeatedly the government vs ordinary citizens as people scrambled to deal with the disaster.

Read it all. The government was repeatedly in the way and working to prevent people from helping themselves. In fact, it often seemed more interested in collecting fees and paperwork than allowing people to be rescued or homes to be rebuilt.

Federal Dept of Ed forces school to close

We’re here to help you: Because of constant regulatory harassment by the federal Department of Education, ITT Technical Institutes, a private college-level school system that has been operating for more than 50 years providing technical vocational training, has been forced to shut down.

The actions of and sanctions from the U.S. Department of Education have forced us to cease operations of the ITT Technical Institutes, and we will not be offering our September quarter. We reached this decision only after having exhausted the exploration of alternatives, including transfer of the schools to a non-profit or public institution.

Effective today, the company has eliminated the positions of the overwhelming majority of our more than 8,000 employees. Our focus and priority with our remaining staff is on helping the tens of thousands of unexpectedly displaced students with their records and future educational options.

This action of our federal regulator to increase our surety requirement to 40 percent of our Title IV federal funding and place our schools under “Heightened Cash Monitoring Level 2,” forced us to conclude that we can no longer continue to operate our ITT Tech campuses and provide our students with the quality education they expect and deserve.

Their press release adds the following:

We have always carefully managed expenses to align with our enrollments. We had no intention prior to the receipt of the most recent sanctions of closing down despite the challenging regulatory environment that now threatens all proprietary higher education. We have also always worked tirelessly to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and to uphold our ethic of continuous improvement. When we have received inquiries from regulators, we have always been responsive and cooperative. Despite our ongoing service to this nation’s employers, local communities and underserved students, these federal actions will result in the closure of the ITT Technical Institutes without any opportunity to pursue our right to due process.

Any business that has successfully provided services to its customers for fifty years has definitely proven its worth — except to the hardcore leftists in the Democratic Obama administration. Employing 8000 people and providing worthwhile training to thousands more, and doing it privately outside the control and power of the federal government? We can’t have that! Better to destroy it!

Update: In related news, more than 80K coal mining jobs lost during Obama’s tenure. The article also notes this important fact:

And now Hillary Clinton is running to be his successor, essentially promising a third term for Barack Obama’s vision. And what did she tell us during the primary? “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

It’s so nice to know these Democrats support unemployment and bankruptcy.

New EPA toxic spill in Colorado

Government in action: The EPA has once again accidently released toxic waste into the same Colorado river it mistakenly dumped 3 million gallons of toxic waste from an abandoned mine last year.

Local officials said this week’s release was not large enough to warrant a public advisory. Last year’s spill sent nearly 1 million pounds of metals into the waterways of the Animas and San Juan rivers, which traverse three states. The metals include arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc.

This week’s spill came from the treatment plant that the EPA set up near the mine to filter water coming from the mine before releasing it into the creek and river systems. A large amount of rain in Colorado caused the treatment facility to overflow and some of the untreated water to spill into the waterways. EPA said the water that spilled from he plant was partially treated, and the metals present in it should quickly settle to the bottom of waterways where they are less harmful.

How many of you out there trust the EPA in this? Considering the stonewalling and lying the agency practiced when the original spill occurred, I see no reason to believe anything they say now.

Obamacare in Tennessee near collapse

Finding out what’s in it: Faced with closure of all of its Obamacare health insurance options, officials in Tennessee have been forced to approve rate increases ranging from 44 to 62 percent.

The rate approvals, while a tough decision, were necessary to ensure that consumers around the state had options when open enrollment begins in November, said Julie Mix McPeak, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the only insurer to sell statewide and there was the possibility that Cigna and Humana would reduce their footprints or leave the market altogether.

I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse … and that all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we have as many writers in the areas as possible, knowing that might be one. I’m doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero,” McPeak said to The Tennessean. [emphasis mine]

Anyone with any brains (such as the conservatives who predicted in 2010 that this would happen) can see that with these ungodly increases, it is very unlikely that those same insurance options will survive through next year. Be prepared for the complete collapse of the health insurance industry.

By 2017 one-third of U.S will have no Obamacare insurance choices

Finding out what’s in it: Due to the collapse of the Obamacare exchanges, by 2017 one-third of U.S will have no health insurance choices.

Seven entire states are projected to have just one carrier in 2017: Alaska, Alabama, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming, according to research by the Avalere consultancy. And more than half of the country, 55 percent, may end up having two or fewer insurers to choose from on those government-run exchanges, Avalere said. “And there may be some sub-region counties where no plans are available,” a report by Avalere on its analysis found.

I must remind people once again that Obamacare was a law written and pushed through entirely by the Democratic Party and President Obama. The Republican Party, even its generally pro-government leadership, refused to have anything to do with it, noting repeatedly that the law, as written, made no sense and was guaranteed to cause the collapse of the health insurance industry. We are now seeing that happen.

Of course, this means we must all vote Democratic, because their desire to fix the problem by turning the health industry into a nationalized government-run operation, not dissimilar to the Motor Vehicle Department of your state, is obviously the only solution. And you are obviously a racist for disagreeing!

EPA never did ethanol studies required by law

The law is such an inconvenient thing: Despite a legal mandate from Congress to conduct studies on the use of ethanol in vehicles the EPA has admitted that it simply ignored the law and never did any.

The Obama administration has failed to study as legally required the impact of requiring ethanol in gasoline and ensuring that new regulations intended to address one problem do not actually make other problems worse, the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general said Thursday. The conclusion in the new audit confirmed findings of an Associated Press investigation in November 2013. The AP said the administration never conducted studies to determine whether air and water quality benefits from adding corn-based ethanol to gasoline. Such reports to Congress were required every three years under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Instead, they have been pushing to increase the amount of ethanol used in gasoline, even though they have no idea whether this helps or hurts the environment, and have been told by practically every automotive industry expert that increased ethanol will damage car engines.

But then, who cares what the law says? Who cares what other experts say? The EPA is made up of righteous perfect liberal individuals who simply know better. How dare Congress, or anyone for that matter, tell them what to do!

Aetna pulls out of Obamacare

Finding out what’s in it: One of the countries largest health insurance companies, Aetna, announced on Monday that it will stop offering health insurance through Obamacare.

Under Obamacare, Aetna lost $200 million in the second quarter of 2016 alone. Too bad no one predicted this…except for every evil racist homophobic tea party and thoughtful conservative whom the Democrats and Obama preferred slandering instead of listening to what they had to say.

Good thing we are going to vote for those Democrats again. Using their brilliant understanding of economics they will be sure the fix the problem they created!

Obama goes after gunsmiths

The constitution is such an inconvenient thing: A new Obama executive order has redefined the work of gunsmiths to define them as manufacturers so that they can be much more heavily regulated, and likely put out of business.

The president’s executive order, which Obama signed on July 22 — around the beginning of the Democratic National Convention — conveys to the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which is primarily in charge of managing the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and establishing its rules, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

DDTC now names commercial gunsmiths as “manufacturers” for relatively simple tasks as threading a barrel or duplicating a small custom part for an older firearm.

The law would require gunsmiths to spend thousands to meet the regulations, and would likely put most out of business, or force them underground into a black market.

The worst part of this, beyond the fact that it is a naked attack on law-abiding citizens because they do work Obama and liberals hate, is that if this executive order stands, it will grant the federal government unlimited power to destroy almost anyone in blue collar work that they don’t like Repair a car, install a carpet, fix a home’s air conditioning system, replace some plumbing, and you suddenly can be declared a manufacturer that no longer can afford to be in business.

Posted from the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

3rd largest insurer begins retreat from Obamacare

Finding out what’s in it: Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer and faced with $300 million in loses, has decided against expanding its participation in the Obamacare exchanges.

They also announced that they are re-evaluating their entire participation in the remaining exchanges.

In related news, Obamacare rates are likely to go up from 23% to 45% in Illinois, and 17.3% in Michigan.

But don’t worry, we’ve got the situation covered. We’re going to vote for Hillary Clinton and Democrats, the people that gave us this failed law. They’ll surely fix it!

Humana abandoning Obamacare

Finding out what’s in it. Humana, one of the nation’s largest heathcare companies, has decided to leave almost half of its Obamacare markets next year.

Humana, one of the nation’s top health insurers, is pulling out of ObamaCare plans in all but a handful of states after a year of nearly $1 billion in losses. The company plans to exit nearly half of its Obamacare markets next year, the company announced during an earnings report Thursday. It will take part in “no more” than 11 state marketplaces, down from 19 states this year, the company said. [emphasis mine]

Remember, it was the insurance companies that lobbied the hardest for Obamacare, figuring they would clean up once the government forced everyone to buy their product. In looking at the numbers above, $1 billion in loses in one year alone, it sure seems that strategy has backfired big time on the insurance companies.

Then again, how could they have possibly known this would happen? No one anticipated this at all, except for those evil tea partiers and those racist conservatives. And who listens to them?

Trump considers fracking businessman for Energy Secretary

Good news if true: Reuters today reported that presidential candidate Donald Trump is considering nominating Oklahoma businessman Harold Hamm as energy secretary if he wins the election.

In addition to considering Hamm, who has also functioned as Trump’s informal energy adviser in recent months, the article also noted this:

Trump, who has yet to make any announcements about his prospective cabinet, has already surrounded himself with strong advocates of traditional energy sources like oil, gas, and coal and has promised to gut environmental regulations to boost drilling and mining if elected. He tapped U.S. Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, a climate skeptic and drilling advocate, to help draw up his campaign energy platform, and picked Indiana Governor Mike Pence, also a climate skeptic, as his running mate.

Both moves cheered the energy industry but alarmed environmental activists who say a Trump presidency would set back years of progress on issues like pollution and climate change. “Given that Hamm’s as close as we’ve got to a fracker-in-chief in this country, it would be an apropos pick for a president who thinks global warming is a hoax manufactured by the Chinese,” said leading environmental activist Bill McKibben.

I keep saying it: Should Trump win, the best way we can guarantee that he favors conservative values is if he is surrounded by conservatives. These moves suggest that that Trump is agreeable to this, though there is also possibly a bit of some crony capitalism going on here as well. While these guys will likely advocate for less environmental regulations, I also doubt that they will work to eliminate the gobs of corporate welfare the federal government presently hands out.

EPA’s gasoline efficiency tests are garbage

Our government in action: The tests the EPA uses to establish the fuel efficiency of cars are unreliable, and likely provide no valid information at all about the fuel efficiency of the cars tested.

The law requiring cars to meet these fuel efficiency tests was written in the 1970s, and specifically sets standards based on the technology then. Worse,

[T]he EPA doesn’t know exactly how its CAFE testing correlates with actual results, because it has never done a comprehensive study of real-world fuel economy. Nor does anyone else. The best available data comes from consumers who report it to the DOT—hardly a scientific sampling.

Other than that, everything is fine. Companies are forced to spend billions on this regulation, the costs of which they immediately pass on to consumers, all based on fantasy and a badly-written law. Gee, I’m sure glad we never tried this with healthcare!

Health insurance rates in California to rise

Finding out what’s in it: Health insurance rates on the Obamacare exchange in California will rise 13% next year.

Large increases on Obamacare exchanges have been par for the course throughout the country this year, which is not really a surprise for anyone who was willing to read more than one sentence of a plethora of predictions made by conservatives in 2010 before Obamacare was passed. They predicted then, as this article notes is now happening, that

Fewer people are signing up through the exchanges than anticipated, and they’re using more health care services than anticipated. That’s left insurers with fewer customers to share the overall cost.

Obviously, according to Obama and Clinton and the entire Democratic Party, the solution to this failed government health program is an even bigger government health program! Won’t that just be peachy-keen!

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