Category Archives: Health Care Reform

Galectin Therapeutics: When Good News Needs to Be TrumpetedGalectin Therapeutics: When Good News Needs to Be Trumpeted

Seldom do I venture outside the subject matter of constitutionalism, ideology and/or politics, but when I do it is either something personal, remarkable or both. The unique and innovative research and development taking place at Galectin Therapeutics™ is just such a subject. Should the scientists of this corporation succeed in bringing their product to market, the lives of millions of people in the United States – and potentially tens, if not hundreds of millions of people around the world – could be saved.

This issue is important to me because I have a personal experience with the evils of cancer and the fibrotic diseases. In 2000, my best friend from high school (a brother from the moment we met until the day he died) was taken from me, from his family, by the ravages of these diseases. He was diagnosed and taken in less than 30 days. The emotional toll on all his survivors was all encompassing and intense. It is with this personal understanding of the issue that the discovery of what Galectin Therapeutics is doing captivated my attention.

What would you say if I told you that a company – a gifted group of scientists – has developed a therapy that will save the lives of well over 15 million Americans suffering from diseases that currently have no cure, and that today can’t be detected until it is too late?

What would you say if I told you that the Food & Drug Administration is so impressed with the data surrounding this new drug therapy that they have awarded “Fast Track” status to this drug, and that, according to Morgan Brennan of CNBC Business News, there has never – never – been a Fast Tracked drug that has failed to come to market?

And what would you say if I told you that not only will this drug be extremely affordable when it comes to market, but that you – you – could be a part of this history-making endeavor?

Well, it is all true…and none-to-soon for the many people who suffer from fibrosis of the liver, kidneys and lungs, and some forms of cancer, thanks to groundbreaking work being done by the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics.

The researchers and scientists associated with Galectin Therapeutics, led by Dr. Peter G. Traber, MD – president emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine and former senior vice president of clinical development & medical affairs and chief medical officer of GlaxoSmithKline – are bringing hope to millions of people in the United States who suffer from both fibrosis (kidney, liver and lung) and cancer. Their research into galectin proteins, which have been proven to play a pivotal role in the genesis of many diseases, including fibrotic disease and cancer, is unprecedented. In fact, the Food & Drug Administration has awarded Fast Tracked status to the development of their project – a class of galectin inhibiting carbohydrate polymers. These unique and revolutionary compounds bind to galectin proteins and disrupt their function, which has a beneficial effect on these diseases.

Fibrosis, by definition, is the development of ever-growing fibrous connective tissue in an organ when exposed to a chronic disease, such as kidney, liver or lung fibrosis. The longer the disease affects the organ, the more fibrous tissue is deposited and this, ultimately, results in the complete failure of the organ. Drug candidates exposed to Galectin Therapeuticstherapies have shown them to be incredibly effective, providing a promising and exciting new approach for the treatment of these fibrotic diseases; hope where once there was none…none.

Additionally, Shirley Wang, of the Wall Street Journal, reports:

“Some 1 in 10 children in the US, or more than 7 million, are thought to have the disease, according to recent studies.

“The condition, in which the normally rust-colored organ becomes bloated and discolored by yellowish fat cells, has become so common in non-drinkers that it has been dubbed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease…

“The condition’s rise is tied to the obesity epidemic – about 40% of obese children have it – but isn’t caused solely by being overweight. The disease appears to be growing among normal-weight children too, experts say. And even though obesity rates are starting to level off, the prevalence of fatty liver disease continues to rise…”

In a nutshell, what Dr. Traber and his colleagues at Galectin Therapeutics have done is groundbreaking if for only this specific reason. Currently, there are no approved medical treatments available for the millions of patients in the United States who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with advanced fibrosis, or liver fibrosis – today commonly known as “fatty liver disease.” The only alternative to an eventual death for anyone afflicted by these diseases – including the millions of children affected – is organ transplantation. The same is true for kidney and lung fibrosis. With the availability of healthy organ tissue at a premium, many more afflicted with these diseases perish than survive. This is why the work being done by Dr. Traber and his team is so incredibly important to the management of these diseases; diseases that will strike hundreds of millions of people around the world in our lifetime.

Further, the Galectin Therapeutics team is making similar inroads into the treatment of cancer.

Based on studies in non-human models, Galectin Therapeutics is exploring how its galectin inhibitors perform in combination immunotherapy clinical trials, focusing on the treatment, initially, of advanced melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there were over 68,000 new diagnoses and 8,100 deaths from melanoma in the United States in 2011. Metastatic melanoma has a poor prognosis with less than 5% of patients surviving five years from the point when the cancer has affected a person’s organs. Galectin Therapeutics galectin inhibitors represent and remarkable breakthrough for people suffering from this killer disease.

One of the most important moments for the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics – and for the millions who suffer from fibrotic diseases – came when the FDA approved the drug for “fast track” status. Fast Track status is defined by the FDA as:

“…a process designed to facilitate the development, and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need… An unmet medical need is a condition whose treatment or diagnosis is not addressed adequately by available therapy.”

By awarding Galectin Therapeutics therapies Fast Track status the FDA recognizes – and admirably so – that this new therapy is the best hope for millions of people afflicted with fibrotic diseases. And for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from fibrotic diseases, and for their families and loved ones, the therapies being developed by the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics can only be seen as their only hope.

Find out more about the incredible work being done by Galectin Therapeutics by visiting their website at: www.GalectinTherapeutics.com.

Are You a Racist?

Are you a racist? Yes, you are. Good, I have your attention. I just wanted to see if I could get your attention by calling you a racist, since it’s what everyone else does. Today the word hardly holds any meaning. One group uses it to try to make another group feel bad or to get the attention of others that might come to help pile on. In some cases they use it simply because they’ve got nothing else to debate with!

Webster says racism is:

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine  cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Well, the first misnomer is the word “race.” We are all part of the same race… the human race! We are made up of many ethnicities and cultures, but, last I checked, scientists still call all of us the human race.

Many of those on the Left consistently call Conservatives, Christians, religious, Republicans and other “non black” people racists. Why? Because we are one of the 4 labels previously listed. And to add frosting to that cake… we aren’t Democrats.

According to “them” I am a racist because I think the current president is a loser. That he can’t govern. He treats his job as if he is the president of a country club and all he has to do to get what he wants is raise membership dues. Why does that make me racist? Because he is black and I am white. Not because I am expressing my own opinion about his job performance (or lack thereof) but because of my color that they brought into the conversation.

Yet none of that fits the true term or even comes close to the definition of racism

According to “them” I am a racist because I think the flood at the border, prompted by this administration, by people who stay here illegally is a problem and I want the border and the American Laws protected and adhered to. How does that make me a racist? Again, I can’t find a connection between the real meaning of racist and me simply wanting the rules followed.

Remember, over 80% of the people who arrive here illegally, are processed, and given a notice to appear within 15 to 20 days in court never show up. They never had an intention to show up. If you support that kind of action then you support breaking the law and from my point of view you are not a racist but an accomplice to the crime and should be punished accordingly.


Read more at http://therealside.com/2014/07/are-you-a-racist/#djKd13BB6FHVgJwY.99

Veterans Are the Healthcare Canary in a Coal Mine

JeffDarcy VA scandalBetween today and June 6th’s 70th anniversary of the D–Day landing I want you to find a veteran and talk to him. This doesn’t mean cornering some unsuspecting vet and ambushing him with the latest insipid leftist cliché: ‘Thank you for your service,’ which manages to be both pretentious and condescending.

(However, it is an improvement over the left’s former greeting for vets: ‘How many babies did you kill today?’ But it’s still rote trivialization.)

Ideally your vet should be a veteran of either the Korean Conflict or the Vietnam War. Not because the fighting was far enough in the past be non–controversial, but because this vet has had plenty of time to experience the tender mercies of the Veterans Administration health care system.

And that system should be the main topic of conversation, because if the left has its way, everyone will experience this type of health care under the coming Obamacare regime. Don’t make the mistake — encouraged by the cheerleading mainstream media — of believing the VA is a problem unto itself and has no relation to civilian health care and certainly no relevance to the future of Obamacare.

That is spin and it is completely untrue. The VA hospital system is essentially the pilot program for Obamacare. It’s been a single–payer system from the beginning and single–payer is the ultimate goal for Obamacare. The VA system was designed to accommodate a smaller subset of the population and it was immune to competition from the private sector. Think of it as the United States Postal Service with syringes.

The theory is after the bugs have been worked out of the pilot program, then a benevolent government can expand it to accommodate the entire country. Unfortunately with leftist big government, when a pilot program fails the verdict is always the failure was due to a lack of resources. The cure is to take the same program, bulk it up with taxpayer dollar injections and make it mandatory for the entire country.

So the VA is very relevant to Obamacare

Our veterans have been used as guinea pigs since 1930 when the VA was founded. One would think 84 years is long enough to get the kinks worked out of the program, but one would be wrong. VA hospital horror stories have been a staple of government scandal coverage for years.

If you fall for the ‘it’s just the VA and won’t affect civilians’ cover story then you are believing what the Obama administration wants you to believe. The goal of the White House is to keep the VA scandal bottled up in a silo off to one side. Obama wants you to think it’s just a rogue VA hospital in Arizona that cooked the books.

But it’s not just Arizona. It’s Florida, it’s West Virginia, it’s Missouri, it’s all over the country. And the problem can’t be solved because there is no real penalty for failure and no competitive pressure to excel. And the same government that runs the VA will soon be running Obamacare if the left can expand it into a single–payer system.

My family has it’s own story of an encounter with the Oklahoma – Texas VA administration. One of my uncles — a WWII veteran — fell ill and went to the VA for treatment in the 50’s. The good doctors said he had suffered a nervous breakdown and they hospitalized him in the mental wing.

Today suffering a nervous breakdown means you are forever immune to negative job performance reviews and the Angel of Downsizing will probably pass over you, too. But in the 50’s a mental problem was the kiss of death.

My uncle lost his career, his wife and his future. He was in and out of VA hospitals for two decades trying to find a cure so he could reassemble the shards of what had been a normal life. And then one fine day he got a new VA doctor. This doctor announced that my uncle had never had any mental problems and that all his difficulties had been caused by an undiagnosed and untreated brain tumor that had been growing in his skull since the first time he saw the inside of a VA hospital.

So my uncle went home to the bedroom he’d inhabited in my grandmother’s house since he lost everything he held dear. And he thought about his life. And he thought about what he had lost. And he carefully took a blanket off his bed, went over to the gas space heater, sat down on the floor, covered his head with the blanket and turned on the gas.

So my family knows all about VA medical care and we want no part of it.

These poor vets were promised first–class health care in return for going to war. Instead they received secret waiting lists, bureaucrat cover-ups, buck passing and incompetent care.

On the other hand the rest of us, that haven’t gone to war, have been promised we could keep our doctor and our insurance.

So find a veteran and ask him how the government keeps its promises.

The continual problems of the VA health care system are what the rest of the country will face if Obamacare isn’t stopped in its tracks. Government can’t run a smaller health care network and it certainly can’t run universal health care.

Our veterans have been the canary in the health care coalmine for decades, but Uncle Sam just keeps replacing the dead canaries with new ones.

Giving The Country Away, Again



obamacare
Well, that abomination we call ObamaCare has again bitten us. This time it’s illegal immigrants. The problem of enforcement of those aspects of ObamaCare that Obama hasn’t yet waived or delayed is coming to the fore. Particularly challenging is the verification of the immigration status of those applying for taxpayer subsidized medical insurance.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), on April 1, issue new guidance to health insurers, saying that people whose immigration status is uncertain will be presumed eligible for subsidized coverage in Obamacare’s marketplaces while a further review is pending.

From the Registration for Technical Assistance Portal (REGTAP) we get this:

Consumers who attest to an eligible immigration status while completing the application will be asked to provide the Marketplace with information about the type of immigration document that they have supporting their status. The Marketplace will attempt to match the information provided with information contained in data sources used for eligibility verification. If any of the information provided does not match information contained in data sources used for eligibility verification, it’s called an application inconsistency.

If there is an application inconsistency, the Marketplace will provide the consumer with eligibility while the inconsistency is being resolved based on the information provided on the application.

Got that? The consumer is assumed to be eligible while the inconsistency is being resolved based on the information provided on the application. And we all know that illegal immigrants NEVER lie about their status, and would NEVER submit bogus information.

Three questions arise:

  • How long will it take to verify the inconsistent applications?
  • How much money is currently being spent to subsidize application inconsistency coverage?
  • How will the government recoup any taxpayer dollars spent subsidizing illegal immigrants who inappropriately obtained subsidies?

This fiasco goes right along with the Obama administration’s announcement that verification of eligibility in state exchanges would operate on the honor system. Obamacare specifically says undocumented immigrants are not eligible for subsidized coverage in the insurance exchanges. But it’s difficult to see this directive to insurers as anything but an encouragement to willfully disregard the spirit of the law.

Implementation is only getting worse. State portals are so bad that the continually crash, as well as make hacking easy. Meanwhile, the Obama administration basically said “trust us” on portal implementation. Now it’s saying “trust us” on whether or not the eligibility of these applications with questionable immigration status will be confirmed in a timely way. Trust is wearing a little thin. But we’ll NEVER hear of any of this from the MSM, which also says “trust us.”

Will the “gotchas” in ObamaCare ever cease? I guess we shoud have read it BEFORE it became the law of the land. Oh, wait, we couldn’t!

BTW, REGTAP is a government portal through which CMS provides technical assistance and training related to Marketplace and Premium Stabilization programs guidance and operations.

But that’s just my opinion.

Cross-posted at The Pot Stirrer, my very conservative web site.

The BO Behind the Obamacare Numbers

If there was one thing that then presidential candidate Barack Obama had right it was his assertion that words matter. That understood, it has always seemed a bit odd to me that a man who presents and proudly proclaims himself a full blown Progressive – if not the quintessential Fabian Progressive – would have alerted the electorate to this fact. Why, you ask? Well, because Progressives are notorious for manipulating the meanings of words to suit their objective needs. Remember, Progressives are the ones who insist that the United States Constitution is a “living document,” meant to facilitate the needs of the times (read: allow government to morph into any authority that the elites believe is needed at any given time).

So, it is with a gigantic grain of salt – a Guinness Book sized grain – that I consume the declarations being made by the Obama Administration on the “numbers of people who have signed up” for health insurance through the federal health exchange. There is a stark difference between “signing up” for the website and purchasing health insurance. Even then, there is a lot of ground between applying for health insurance through the exchange and actually paying the premiums each month.

The truth is, we won’t know how many people have successfully attained health insurance coverage through the “Obamacare Exchange” until after the first month of coverage has completed. This is because for coverage to be in effect it must be paid for. To that end The National Journal reports:

“One of the biggest players in Obamacare’s exchanges says 15 to 20 percent of its new customers aren’t paying their first premium – which means they’re not actually covered.

The latest data come from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members – known collectively as “Blues” plans – are participating in the exchanges in almost every state. Roughly 80 to 85 percent of people who selected a Blues plan through the exchanges went on to pay their first month’s premium, a BCBSA spokeswoman said Wednesday.”

It would seem that some – oh, maybe 15 to 20 percent – of those who “signed up” for health insurance through Healthcare.gov have figured out that as long as it appears as though they have signed up for health insurance through the exchange they might be able to circumvent the inaugural Obamacare fine (read: tax, per SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts) for not actually having health insurance. Of course, this remains to be seen, but given that the Obamacare website is the laughingstock of the tech world, maybe – just maybe – they might get away with it.

And another facet of this totalitarian Progressive overreach of government – this unconstitutional encroachment into our private lives – is the question surrounding the employer mandate. To date, there have seen so many exemptions given to both organizations and corporations alike, the idea that this is actually a “mandate” is becoming laughable. Let’s face it, when a mandate becomes something only applicable to select factions and demographics, it is less a mandate and more a punishment, and a punishment for “not thinking correctly.”

This Progressive line of thinking is typical of an elitist faction that truly believes – truly believes – they know what is best for everyone, even if the overwhelming majority views the “opinion(s)” of said Progressive elitists as undesirable and oppressive. It is for this reason – the elitist narcissism of the Progressive Left – that a recent declaration by former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs shouldn’t surprise anyone.

TheHill.com reports:

“Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs predicted Wednesday that the oft-delayed Obamacare employer mandate will never go into effect.

“I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect. It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go,” Gibbs told a crowd in Colorado, according to BenefitsPro.com.

“The website described the audience as being surprised by Gibbs’s comments…

“Gibbs argued that most employers with more than 100 workers already offer health insurance, and only a relatively small number of companies have between 50 and 99 employees.”

Putting aside, for a moment, Mr. Gibbs’ contention that only a small number of companies have employees numbering between 50 and 99 employees, this is another example of the “words matter” bait and switch, and with ramifications.

We the People, were told – in no uncertain terms – that the employer mandate was essential to the success of Obamacare. The Obama Administration has been so obstinate about this point that they were willing to fight the Hobby Lobby Corporation all the way to the US Supreme Court in an effort to force them to provide “end-of-life-causing” contraception options to their employees – against the moral and religiously-based objections of the company owners. The Obama Administration even tried to strong arm Catholic charities operated by nuns to do the same. Yet now we have one of the “soldiers of the Obamacare Movement” shrugging his shoulders insisting that the employer mandate is no big deal? If that’s true, why coerce nuns and those objecting to the mandate on religious grounds?

Looking further down the list of forced mandates, what could we expect next? Should we get ready for the individual mandate to become expendable, but for, of course, the demographics that are “not thinking correctly”?

If words matter, as now President Obama claimed in the days before his presidency, why don’t they matter now, now that he is president? He promised that Americans could keep their doctors and the insurance plans they enjoyed “period.” Yet that turned out to be a lie, bald-faced. He and his cronies said that the mandates were non-negotiable. But now one of the primary mouthpieces who trumpeted the need for these mandates during this blatant coercion of the American people says the need to mandate employer participation is “not so much.”

Truth be told, there are some provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are beneficial to the American people (dealing with the purchase of health insurance across state lines and addressing pre-existing conditions being two). But the negatives of this legislation far, far out-weigh the positives. Additionally, if federally elected politicians weren’t playing the whore for the behemoth insurance companies and their heartless lobbyists on K Street (let’s remember who was “all in” on getting Obamacare passed) purchasing health insurance would have been open to a national market, thus lowering prices through competition and creating viable options to address the issue of pre-existing conditions.

Don’t look now, but Capitalism is the answer to high health insurance prices and accessibility.

Yes, worlds matter. And where Obamacare is concerned, the only applicable words that matter are these, spoken by then candidate Obama:

“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Justice for Justina Pelletier

What is happening to the United States of America?  What is happening to our Republic?  I remember a famous quote made by Benjamin Franklin when asked by a citizen, “what kind of nation have you given us?” to which he replied, “a Republic, madam, if you can keep it!”.

Our Republic, founded on the ideals of liberty and justice for all, has become liberty and justice for the chosen few but peasant obedience for We the People.  The legislative branches of both state and federal government no longer listen to Justina Pelletier 1nor do they represent the Constitution or the very people they pledge to “SERVE!!!!!!”.  The executive branches at both levels pretty much do as they please, forget all the limits imposed by the Constitution, and don’t dare to mention all the promises they made to get elected in the first place.  The judicial branch, our system of justice has turned into the system of legalities that can be changed, bought, and ignored on the whim of any judge or politician.

For 12 months a teen girl has been held hostage in Boston Childrens Hospital, kept away from her parents, kept away from the doctor she was sent there to be attended to by, kept away from the doctor who originally diagnosed her illness and sent her to Boston to see this specialist so she can have better care.  Her name is Justina Pelletier.   Today she is being transferred to a different facility but her parents are still not allowed to attend to her.  This transfer is the equivalent of Bill Clinton’s “depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is”!!!!! Different building but controlled by the same people.  That isn’t “change you can believe in”!!!!!

Her medical condition has steadily gone downhill while at Boston General Hospital.  Her parents and their lawyers are under a gag order but, facing the eminent death of his daughter, he violated that order and has spoken out.  Just a side-bar, but why should these people not be free to speak about the situation?  What are the bureaucrats hiding?  Now the father could face jail time for contempt of court for speaking out in a desperate attempt to save his daughter’s life.

The parents are nearly broke from the expense of this, not to mention the mental despair and heartbreak they are experiencing.  How is it that a bureaucracy can do this to people without any recourse?  This morning the father was talking about the day one of the physicians came in to see Justina in a hospital room and a social worker came in and physically dragged him out of the room saying he had no right to see her.  He had only been treating her for something like 2 years!!!!

The governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut can put a stop to this.  So can the Attorneys General of either state, but they won’t.  No elected official anywhere will give these people the time of day when they are being essentially persecuted by a bureaucratic system that doesn’t care about the rights of those they have subjected to what I see as mental and financial torture, for no better reason than I can see but their own lust for power over WE the People.  The politicians once again stand behind the bureaucrats instead of We the People.

How often do you now read or hear about local police departments killing citizens either “by mistake” or from just downright Gestapo and SS tactics from Nazi Germany.  Rarely is there any punishment meted out to the police who commit these Nazi style terror attacks.  Just like they treated the Jews isn’t it, except it isn’t European Jews this time!!!!!  Now we have medical people performing essentially the same tasks.  Cops can arrest a person for asking a question they don’t like and hospitals can just take control of children without justification, to do as they wish medically; including experimenting, ala Dr. Mengele.

What are the people in that hospital doing to that girl that has to be hidden from the parents and doctors who have treated her, and her sister, for years?  What are they doing that makes a court ordered “gag order” necessary?????  Why does a judge stand on the side of tyranny, forbidding a person the right to speak on any issue, especially one concerningJustina-Pelletier 2 their own child?  Why are these blatant violations of the rights of citizens ignored by officials elected on the promise to uphold the rights of WE the People?????  More of the “your children belong to the state” mentality?????

What they are doing to this family is WRONG!!!!! If the bureaucratic system can do this to them what is to keep them from doing it to you?????  All of us need to stand up for this family, and in so doing we stand up for our way of life and our own liberty.  If someone had snatched this girl from her front yard, even if doing so “for her own good”, it would be called kidnapping and would be a federal offense resulting in many years in prison.  But because it is an entity backed by the political system it is just fine and dandy?????

The situation with the Pelletier family isn’t a aberration, it is all too common today.  They are being subjected to Nazi style treatment from a government that is supposed to be based on the rights of the citizens.  WE come first not the government or their bureaucratic drones.  Well, that is how it is supposed to be but how often do we see that today?  Those in control are spitting in the eye of the nation, and spitting on the Constitution and the God given rights guaranteed by said document.

Contact the governors, and Attorneys General of these states and let them know that you will not be silenced.  We the People need to fight this fight with the Pelletier family.  They can’t do it alone and neither can you or I.  We are in this together, all of us.  Every time a citizen is treated as the Pelletier family is treated We the People need to rise up and let them know we will not tolerate it.

We have bowed to the pressure of bureaucratic tyrants long enough.  This is one way to force them to bow to the real power in the nation, We the People.  WE either exercise that power or we forfeit it to the tyrants.  The choice is yours!!!!!

If you can help the Pelletier family financially, please go to this link:    www.freejustina.com

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

 

Bob Russell

Claremore, Oklahoma

February 19, 2014

 

 

On top of Obamacare failures, state exchange wastes $1.73 million on Richard Simmons video

Of course Obamacare can’t live up to the hype Democrats and the President delivered, but hey, why not throw Richard Simmons into the mix to see if that makes it better – even it if costs almost two million dollars.

You see, somehow, California felt that in order to fix the image and low sign-ups, they just needed this:

Facing a $78 million budget shortfall, California’s ObamaCare exchange has spent $1.37 million to fund an outreach video featuring exercise guru Richard Simmons gyrating on the floor and hugging a contortionist who is kneeling with his buttocks in the air.

Roberts Rules Again…Poorly

Now comes news that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has doubled down on his middle finger to the American citizenry by turning away – without comment, which the SCOTUS gets to do – an emergency stay request, filed by the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons and the Alliance for Natural Health USA, to block the implementation of Obamacare.

In an almost ignored story, FOX News reports:

“Chief Justice John Roberts turned away without comment Monday an emergency stay request from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. and the Alliance for Natural Health USA.

“They asked the chief justice Friday to temporarily block the law, saying Congress had passed it incorrectly by starting it in the Senate instead of the House. Revenue-raising bills are supposed to originate in the lower chamber. They also wanted blocked doctor registration requirements they say will make it harder for independent non-Medicare physicians to treat Medicare-eligible patients.

“Still pending is a decision on a temporary block on the law’s contraceptive coverage requirements, which was challenged by a group of nuns.”

With an overwhelming number of Americans standing against the implementation of this law, an ever increasing realization of consequences that make the law he most expensive entitlement program ever launched, and the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional manipulation of the law’s provision via executive caveat, Chief Justice Roberts had a golden opportunity to rectify his atrocious ruling that allowed for this law to become binding to the American people. Again, Mr. Roberts has cheated the American people from the benefits of constitutional justice.

Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution states clearly:

“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills…”

That The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) originated out of the US House of Representatives as the Service Members Home Ownership Act (HR3590), which has absolutely nothing – nothing – to do with health insurance mandates or so-called reforms. Per the Obama Administration’s own Justice Department rebuttal to a suit brought on the same subject by the Pacific Legal Foundation:

“…attorneys for the Justice Department argue that the bill originated as House Resolution 3590, which was then called the Service Members Home Ownership Act. After passing the House, the bill was stripped in a process known as ‘gut and amend’ and replaced entirely with the contents of what became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“Using HR3590 as a ‘shell bill’ may be inelegant, but it’s not unconstitutional, according to the government motion.”

So, the Obama Administration admits that the bill was foisted on the American people disingenuously and nefariously, Justice Roberts ruled it a tax, and yet Roberts refuses to allow the Supreme Court to hear a case that examines and rules on the constitutionality of exactly the unconstitutional aspects everyone says exist.

The big question is this. Why is Chief Justice John Roberts running interference for the Obama Progressives?

Article III, Section 1 of the US Constitution states:

“The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

One has to ask, with the caveat that Supreme Court Justices “shall hold their offices during good behaviour” we should all be asking – and asking our elected officials: What shall be done about Chief Justice Roberts; “bad behaviour”?

Don’t you Dare Talk Healthcare for the Holidays!

This is really a new low for President Box o’Rocks, and that’s saying a lot.

Not only is he corrupting the country and bringing us down to a level below Canada, now he wants to hijack Christmas. He wants his Kool-Aid drinking minions to talk about how great Obamacare is during Christmas dinner. His operatives have also provided talking points and strategery for those who may have a hard time getting the conversation started. The talking points are printer-friendly, too, so you can print them on recycled paper which I will then snatch out of your hand to wipe my rear end with, because I have two words for anybody who is jazzed about doing their part for the president:

F*** you. F*** Obama. And f*** you again.

I’ve really had it this time.

Obama, what on earth makes you think this is a good idea? Is your agenda and ideology all that you think of? What am I saying, of course it is! And this tactic proves it. I bet you have your chest puffed out and you’re strutin’ ’round really pleased with this bit of ingenuity.

You’re a Grinch, plain and simple.

Be advised. If anybody within five feet of me during this holiday season even dares to talk to me about Obamacare, you’re gonna get a mouthful that will make you weep. I will make you feel so low you’ll have to jump off a curb to commit suicide. And when I make your momma cry too, I’ll tell her she should have had an abortion. I’ll tell her that her own mother should have had an abortion to spare us the misery.

I’ve really, really had it this time.

All I want to do is relax and enjoy my holiday and the coming end of the year where we get to reflect and start fresh in January. January always smells new, and I look forward to it like one looks forward to a rare steak. I will not tolerate anything that gets in the way, but progressive idiots seem hell-bent on doing just that.

Well two can play at this game.

The problem, Obama, is that you announced your plan. Others refined your plan. This is why you’re stupid. Now the opposition can prepare.

I encourage all of you to be prepared.

Of course, it’s one thing to talk, it’s another to actually act, and I daresay even the most left-leaning radicals among our families will bother. Deep down I think even they know this is a dumb idea, but there’s always a ringer. Always a ringer. So be prepared for the ringer. Let him have it. And then conk him over the head and cut off his beard. Lefty “males” always have beards. The women, too.

Lies. Damned Lies. And Obamacare Statistics

Carnac: The software that knows what you want to spend before you spend it.

Carnac: The software that knows what you want to spend before you spend it.

The latest batch of October statistics from the Obama White House credits me with buying a Mercedes, BMW and an Audi. And the best part is it didn’t cost me a dime! All I did was take three test drives and here I am: A GDP–generating fool.

This flexible interpretation of window–shopping and tire–kicking has great potential for the future. I’m thinking about taking credit for job creation when I get a haircut or have my car washed. With just a bit more attention to my personal appearance I could find states competing to offer me subsidies and tax breaks like Terry McAuliffe got from Mississippi.

And wouldn’t you know it, this conceptual breakthrough started with Obamacare and the HealthCare.dud website.

Some of my conservative colleagues complained when Obama minions began counting people who only visited the HealthCare.dud website and selected a plan, but didn’t pay for it as Official Obamacare Enrollees. These stalwarts contend that until the victim has actually paid for the plan there is no sale and consequently no enrollment, regardless of how much they need the insurance or how many hours they wasted on the website.

What’s more, if we let Obama get away with this, soon people who only thought about health insurance would be counted as part of the system.

The private sector equivalent of this new White House statistical interpretation would be Amazon.com counting items still on shopper’s ‘wish lists’ as being revenue generating sales; and then releasing the information to Wall Street so as to drive up the stock price.

Since he’s not president, the result would be Jeff Bezos facing charges, while Obama merely faces a hostile — make that mildly annoyed — press corps that is having trouble coming up with new excuses for the president’s failures.

The conservative objection, while true, misses the larger point. Based on the Phantom Obamacare Enrollee Precedent, when I buy my 2013 copy of TurboTax and fill out the form, I should be counted as having paid my taxes without sending the IRS a check!

I call it my own private sequester. And when you consider how the number of people who take more from the government than they pay in taxes is increasing, it finally puts me on the right side of history.

The Obamacare rollout — or ground out, if you prefer — does have implications for Obama’s future after the White House. If he’s as smart as the MSM assures us, Obama will steer clear of the private sector. That’s because if he tried the same marketing tactics outside of government, he would be subject to fines and possibly jail time.

As Orson Swindle, a Federal Trade Commission member from 1997 to 2005, pointed out in the National Review the HealthCare.dud website is deceptive, misleading and illegal. Jay Carney’s “wild west” indeed.

You may recall a recent furor over airline websites that were allegedly hiding baggage and other add–on fees until just before the consumer purchased the ticket. “Consumer advocates” and other busybodies complained that by waiting until the end of the purchase process to give the consumer a total price, airlines were trying to pull a fast one.

Airlines responded that where else would you give a total price unless it was at the end of the purchase process?

And besides the Carnac the Magnificent software was not ready for launch. Protests fell on deaf government ears and the FTC required the websites to be reprogrammed to sound a klaxon and flash red lights every time a consumer made a choice that would add more than a nickel to the ticket price.

Soon shopping for a big–ticket airfare came to resemble crash–diving in a submarine.

Yet the HealthCare.dud site is programmed to hide any cost information until after the consumer has created an account and been forced to divulge detailed financial information. And even then the information is purposely inaccurate.

As Swindle says, quoting CBS News, “HealthCare.gov contains a pricing feature that tends to “dramatically underestimate” the cost of insurance. The website’s “shop and browse” feature divides users into two broad age categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.” Price estimates for the first age group are based on what a 27-year-old could expect to pay, whereas as the latter group’s price estimates are based on what a 50-year-old would pay, a practice that inevitably produces wildly misleading results for individuals significantly older than the base age. In some cases, actual premiums are nearly double the projected amount.”

Swindle concludes, “The bottom line is that no private entity would be allowed to get away with what the Obama administration is trying to get away with.”

And we haven’t even mentioned the “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it” shuffle.

The bad news is we have conservative busybodies, too. Rep. Fred Upton (R–MI) — descendant of Civil War hero Gen. Emory Upton — passed a bill in the House to allow insurers to continue to sell policies that the feds have canceled. What’s more, Upton persuaded 39 Democrats to join him in supporting this “bi–partisan” legislation. (Unfortunately for comity in the House, the bill must have passed on the weekend, because I don’t remember any praise for Upton from the MSM for reaching across the aisle to garner Democrat support.)

Too bad this is exactly the wrong thing to do.

If we are to rid ourselves of this Obamacare monstrosity, it will only come after the pressure on Democrats is so great they beg for political mercy. And that will only happen after all those who didn’t take time to read the law, feel the impact of the law.

Interim fix–its to reduce the pain undermine what should be conservative’s long term goal, which is end it, not mend it.

Obamacare’s Strays

The stories from Gop.gov/yourstory continue to roll in at an alarming rate. As we have all seen, millions of Americans continue to receive notices informing them that their current insurance plans will no longer be offered under Obamacare. The House Republican Conference has compiled a short video, embargoed until 9:00 a.m. EST,  highlighting some of these Americans.  Please take a minute to watch and share with your readers.

Sun Tzu predicted Republicans’ and Tea Partiers’ defeat over 2,500 years ago

suntzusartofwar

Well before the government shutdown had begun, I knew it was a supremely stupid idea and a fight that would gain nothing for Republicans and the Tea Party (other than further damage of their image in the American people’s eyes), and I warned my friends on Facebook who thought it was a good idea they were wrong.

On October 11th, after 10 days of the shutdown, CDN published my article explaining, in detail, why the government shutdown was a foolish idea, why there was nothing to be gained from it, why it was impossible to repeal or defund Obamacare while Obama is still wielding a veto pen (and a 55-seat Senate majority), and why Republicans need to first win the argument, then win the vote, and only then make policy. I also predicted Republicans would eventually cave in.

I was right, and those who argued otherwise, including Tea Partiers, were dead wrong. But another man had predicted Republicans’ and Tea Partiers’ defeat much earlier – in fact, over 2,500 years ago. His name is Sun Tzu.

Yes, that Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese general and strategist who authored the world’s first military treatise, the Art of War, a masterpiece that inspired leaders as diverse as Emperor Qinshi Huangdi, Oda Nobunaga, Togo Heihachiro, Douglas MacArthur, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Stormin’ Norman Schwartzkopf.

Contained in this succint treatise that would fit on 13 pages of A4 paper today are the keys to victory in all competitive endeavors – war, business, sports… and politics.

And this masterwork, completed sometime in the 6th century or the early 5th century BC, explains nicely why various battles and wars throughout history have ended they way they have. Including Republicans’ and Tea Partiers’ recent Obamacare debacle.

Basically, in virtually every case in history, the losing side ignored at least one, if not more, of Sun Tzu’s teachings, or the winning side successfully utilized the principles he taught.

In this case, we can see that going into the government shutdown battle, Republicans and Tea Partiers cavalierly disregarded not one, not two, but SEVERAL of Master Sun’s teachings, to their detriment.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.” – Chapter XII, verse 17

“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” – ch. III, v. 17

“There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must be not attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.” – ch. VIII, v. 3

Yet, Republicans started a battle they never had any chance of winning, a battle they were doomed to lose, at the wrong time and the wrong place against a much stronger, well-entrenched enemy, a battle from which there was nothing to be gained.

Intelligent people, such as Dr. Charles Krauthammer and this writer, warned Republicans even before the shutdown that there was no way they could’ve defunded Obamacare from one house of Congress, because the Senate would never pass, and Obama would never sign into law, a bill or resolution defunding his sole legislative “achievement” – so there was no way they’d agree to doing so even if the shutdown took place – which it did, and Obama still didn’t agree to defund Obamacare.

Indeed, Obama and the Democrats, not Republicans, were the only side that could’ve gained anything from the shutdown – an opportunity to portray Republicans as extremists who want to send the country into havoc.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

These are:

(1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.” – Ch. I, v. 3-4.

These aqre the five constant factors governing warfare and determining who wins and loses. It is no coincidence that the first factor Sun Tzu lists is “Moral Law” – or, as translated by Samuel Griffith (I’m otherwise quoting the Lionel Giles translation here), “Moral Influence” – in other words, popular support, i.e. moral support from the general populace.

This is a crucial factor for victory in virtually every war, even for dictatorships – this is why America had to withdraw ignominiously from Vietnam and Iraq and is now withdrawing from Afghanistan – because the American people no longer support these wars. Even Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, under popular (and financial) pressure, had to withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989 after 10 years of fruitless fighting.

Popular support is even more important for those fighting in the political arena, especially in democratic countries (i.e. those with democratically-elected governments). If Republicans want to ever retake the Senate and the White House, let alone enact their policies, they must enjoy thef support of a majority of Americans.

Yet, by starting the government shutdown, Republicans and Tea Partiers have only alienated large swathes of the American electorate, already largely unfriendly to them in 2012. Most Americans do oppose Obamacare in principle – but not to the point they want the federal government to shut down.

Moreover, according to Gallup, a significant majority of Americans wants Republicans and Democrats to compromise (yes, that dreaded c-word), and according to another poll (not by Gallup), 51% of Americans say Republicans should just “get over the fact that Obamacare is the law.” Also, according to Gallup polling, by far the biggest criticism levied by most Americans (and a plurality of Republicans) against the GOP is that it is too inflexible and too unwilling to compromise.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“If the enemy occupies high ground, do not attack him; with his back resting on hills, do not oppose him.” – ch. VII, v. 26 in the Griffith translation

Yet, Republicans have attacked a much stronger enemy who was occupying high ground – a President Obama wielding a veto pen and controlling the whole executive branch and a 55-seat Senate majority. In addition, the public opinion sided mostly with Obama on the government shutdown, even though it does not approve of Obamacare itself. Even before the shutdown, Obama had approval ratings much better than those of Congressional Republicans and the Tea Party, above 40%. Today, Obama still has approval ratings above 40% – at 43% according to Gallup. While these ratings are nothing to boast about (his disapproval ratings vary from the high forties to the low fifties), they are still way better than those of Congressional Republicans, their leaders, and the Tea Party.

Republicans made the same foolish mistake they made in 1995: they tried to implement a radical change (in this case, repeal or defunding of a newly-enacted major law) while controlling only the Congress, and without a veto-proof majority, while a Democratic president wielded a veto pen. This time the mistake was all the more foolish, because Republicans controlled only one chamber of Congress.

Republicans were hardly the first “army” to attack an enemy occupying high ground. The Union Army did so in 1862 at Fredericksburg and the Confederate Army at Gettysburg in 1863. That latter battle arguably, in the long run, cost the Confederates the war. The Confederacy is no more any longer. The same could very well happen to the GOP.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is insubordination. ” – ch. X, v. 16.

“If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be useless.

Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity, but kept under control by means of iron discipline. This is a certain road to victory.

If in training soldiers commands are habitually enforced, the army will be well-disciplined; if not, its discipline will be bad.

If a general shows confidence in his men but always insists on his orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual.” – ch. IX, v. 42-45.

“When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is insubordination. When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is collapse.

When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief can tell whether or not he is in a position to fight, the result is ruin.

When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization.” – ch. X, v. 16-18.

Clearly a big factor in Speaker Boehner’s and Leader McConnell’s defeat was the large, undisciplined, insubordinate contingent of radical Republicans (Tea Party Republicans) in Congress, led by Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in the Senate and by Congressmen Raul Labrador, Justin Amash, and Mick Mulvaney in the House. With soldiers like that, no military commander, not even Sun Tzu, would’ve been able to win any battle.

These Congressmen and Senators – most of them very young and very inexperienced (Cruz has been in the Senate only since January, Paul since 2011) – are arrogant, overconfident, and very aggressive in their demands. Yet, despite their junior status, they have been able to hold the GOP Congressional Leadership hostage due to their large numbers. So in the Republican “Army”, the common soldiers are too strong and the officers are too weak. There is disunity in Republican ranks. The commanding generals – J0hn Boehner and Mitch McConnell – are weak and without authority within their contingents.

That is so because they – at least until recently – have failed to keep their troops “under control by means of iron discipline”, which, according to Sun Tzu, is “the certain road to victory.” They have failed to insist on the GOP’s leadership’s orders being enforced with stern discipline; they have failed, until recently, to punish those radical Republicans who aren’t team players, insist on unattainable non-negotiable demands, disrupt the work of the Congress, and don’t support the party’s agenda.

In January, the GOP House Caucus removed four such insubordinate, disruptive Republicans (including Justin Amash) from key committees. Conservative media hysterically called it a purge; in fact, it was a minor and long overdue correction. A purge would’ve meant removing all insubordinate and disruptive Congressmen from all key committees. Likewise, Mitch McConnell has only now belatedly begun to fight back against pseudo-conservative groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund, the “Club for Growth”, and FreedomWorks by denying NRSC contracts to companies that also do business with these groups. These radical organizations claim to be conservative, but in reality, they only serve to get more Democrats elected and to advance their agenda by targeting mainstream-but-not-radical Republicans whom they don’t consider “pure enough” and by ensuring that totally unelectable fringe candidates (like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Ken Buck) win GOP primaries and then lose general elections.

And yet, it was not until this month that McConnell began taking action against these groups.

One’s own soldiers must be treated humanely, but also kept under control by means of iron discipline, as Sun Tzu wrote.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. (…) Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.” – ch. IV, v. 1-2 and 15

Yet, Republicans started a battle before devising any plan to win it. They went into battle without any plan to win. Like all other vanquished armies in history, they first fought and then sought victory – exactly the wrong order.

Had Republicans and Tea Partiers been wise people, they would’ve first devised a plan for victory, then would’ve created the conditions for triumph (which would necessarily mean retaking the Senate and the WH), and only then would’ve fought.

Thus you can see why Republicans lost – and were doomed to lose – the government shutdown battle against Obama, and how Sun Tzu predicted their defeat over 2,500 years ago. Republicans and Tea Partiers will continue to suffer further defeats if they continue to recklessly ignore Sun Tzu’s wise advice.

Let Master Sun have the last word here, across 2,500 years of time:

“The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:–let such a one be dismissed!”

Obamacare: Enter the Finger Pointing

obamacare_logo_1It may not be a surprise that Republicans, and some Democrats, are now calling for the resignation or termination of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, given the absolute calamity that is the HealthCare.gov launch. But is the call for her head really fair? Probably not.

It is probably fair to say that no unelected bureaucrat, regardless of party or experience, could possibly keep HHS running smoothly. Forget that half a billion dollars were thrown at building a website – quite possibly the most expensive website launch in the history of the internet – over three years, the idea of a federal bureaucracy delivering a consumer ready product over any amount of time and expense is laughable.

Over the years much has been made of the headaches and hassles involved at the DMV. The DMV is such an easy target it has become a joke frequented by mediocre comedians. And yet, after decades and untold expense, the DMV lines are just as long or longer, and the service is just as bad.

Put frankly, Sebelius was given a task no government bureaucrat could have accomplished. In fact, many don’t realize HHS has the greatest cut of the budgetary pie, consisting of $941 billion, or roughly 25% of the total federal budget. Could anyone, anywhere, oversee the proper spending and allocation of such a huge amount of money? Could anyone possibly claim they not only could ensure the money was spent wisely, but that the services provided would be of the top quality?

If launching a website is too monumental a task for the all-powerful federal government, what will we get from the “Independent Payment Advisory Board” (IPAB)? This was the “death panel” Sarah Palin made so famous. IPAB submits “recommendations” to Congress which automatically take effect unless a supermajority can override them. Which is to say, 15 unelected directors will decide what services should be cut, suspended or done away with. Those decisions, by the way, are exempted from administrative or judicial review.

HealthCare.gov isn’t a disaster because Secretary Sebelius is incompetent, though she very well may be, but because this is the inevitable results of big government. The members of Congress now demanding Sebelius’ head have found a handy scapegoat, but a disingenuous one. If the GOP has any sense left at all, they will hold up HealthCare.gov as a perfect example, a living example, of exactly why big government can never work. Fingers should be pointed for this debacle, but they should be pointed at the very people who brought us Obamacare: the Democrats in Congress and President Obama.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »