Category Archives: Health Care Reform

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

Lou Pelletier and wife

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

Richard Simmons Obamacare 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

!cid_image004_jpg@01CEDFF3

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

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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.

How Advice from Three Frenchmen Could Have Won the Shutdown Battle

Don't let the floppy hats fool you. The Three Musketeers could have helped during the Shutdown fight.

Don’t let the floppy hats fool you. The Three Musketeers could have helped during the Shutdown fight.

Speaker John Boehner is the Adm. Karl Dönitz of Republican politics. Hemmed in on one side by the pounding batteries of the Mainstream Media and on the other by a mob of howling leftists eager to send him to a self–criticism session on MSNBC — Boehner desperately tries to negotiate a surrender to Supreme Commander Obama that will leave him with a shred of dignity and continued access to the Congressional tanning bed.

What really sticks in Boehner’s craw is the realization he’s going to be stuck with the blame for the shutdown defeat! He warned the caucus what would happen if they followed a strategy designed by crazy people. But no, they were intoxicated by the crowds at the rallies and stem–winders on the Senate floor. Victory was at hand!

Yet now the loonies are out of the picture and here Boehner sits in the ruins of the Shutdown Bunker wondering if Harry Reid will allow him to smoke at the signing ceremony.

That’s what Boehner gets for trying to fight a two–front war. The struggle over Obamacare should have been either the continuing resolution shutdown or the debt ceiling. Not a bizarre push–me­—pull–you that blurred the two issues and made the public think the country hitched a ride with Thelma & Louise.

Giving credit where credit is due, Boehner started out well. The House GOP passed the initial continuing resolution with everything funded but Obamacare and sent the bill to the Senate where is disappeared like it was term limits legislation. So the government was at impasse.

It’s possible that if Boehner had donned a turban and started enriching uranium, Obama would have agreed to negotiate with him, but there wasn’t enough time to install the necessary number of centrifuges in the Rayburn office building.

During past shutdowns our leaders attempted to limit the inconvenience. This was a policy the Obama Administration could not afford to follow, as I pointed out last week, because after losing the sequester a painless shutdown would help make the case for even smaller government.

That’s why the Spite House made sure this shutdown hurt as many civilian bystanders as possible. Collateral damage was the order of the day. In total disregard of negative publicity Obama used his human drones in the Park Police to close the WWII monument, national parks, private businesses, roads, athletic fields and anything else they could get away with.

It drove Obama’s approval rating down to Jimmy Carter Land at 37 percent, which is an all time low for the light bringer. Yet he held firm, ironically enough employing the Nixon “madman” strategy. As Nixon once said, “I call it the Madman Theory… I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that, “for God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry—and he has his hand on the nuclear button.”

The only difference is Obama — totally lacking a foreign policy — uses the Madman theory to intimidate his Republican domestic opposition. It’s remarkable that a fellow who wears mom jeans and would probably have trouble bench-pressing a juice box, is so eager to roll the dice when other’s futures are at stake.

So as the nation’s busy borrowers at the Treasury threatened to crash into an unyielding debt ceiling, Boehner was genuinely worried that Madman Barack might actually cause the country to default, if it meant he would win the confrontation.

So Boehner blinked and surrendered.

Here is where the Frenchmen could have provided the margin of victory.

If only Boehner had employed the Three Musketeer Strategy the county and the GOP would have won in the long run. The Three Musketeer’s motto was: One for All & All for One.

Instead of allowing craven porkmeister Sen. Mitch McConnell (R–I’m not for sale, but I rent cheap) to seize the agenda and pass a combination government funding and debt ceiling agreement, Boehner should have had the House pass a bill that did that AND required everyone, every company and every member of Congress and their staff to submit to Obamacare this year without any waivers.

One for All & All for One; with the “All” in this instance being Obamacare. That way the fight is still about Obama’s signature bill, the one he shut down the government to save, but in a brilliant bit of political ju–jitsu his bill is turned against him.

Making the entire country suffer under the full Obamacare this year would have resulted in a disaster at the polls for Democrats in 2014. What’s more, the administration knows it, which is why it exempted employers from the mandate until AFTER the election.

Even better the Three Musketeer bill has the virtue of simplicity: all the money and all the Obamacare. With only two elements the MSM could not bury coverage of the Obamacare waiver removal, as it buried Obama’s plunging poll ratings. (Most poll stories trumpeted declining GOP ratings in the headlines and only mentioned the new low for Obama as a passing aside.)

A Three Musketeers bill would have been a poison pill for the administration. Signing it means a disaster at the polls next year. Not signing it and defaulting because Republicans were too bi–partisan and Obama didn’t want his signature bill to take effect for everyone would be a PR disaster even the MSM could not ignore. And Democrats would still face a wipeout in 2014. All victory would have required was for Boehner to hold fast regardless of Obama’s choice.

If the signature bill of the president is so good for the country, as the MSM claims, then Republicans should have done their best to make sure the nation gets it, as H. L. Mencken used to say, “good and hard.” After all, what’s wrong with using “settled law” to unsettle the populace?

Do we know how bad HealthCare.gov really is yet?

For the past two and a half weeks – sadly partially silenced by the government shutdown and debt ceiling drama – Obamacare as an information system has been melting down since enrollment in the “exchanges” or “marketplaces” for health insurance went live at the HealthCare.gov website on October 1, 2013. It’s clear that the situation is bad, and is starting to alarm even the most forgiving to the President and his policies, as liberal Statist sites like The Huffington Post  publish articles with titles like “Obamacare Website Failure Threatens Health Coverage for Millions of Americans”.

The actual file name of that post is simply delicious: “obamacare-train-wreck_n_4118041.html”.

We’re starting to see lots of material being published about how HealthCare.gov came into being, and either baffled disappointment or a sense of “what else did you expect?” at how a web application project that as much as $634 million has been spent on can’t handle user loads, deliver simple web pages, or manage to correctly display drop-down list box contents, much less enroll millions of uninsured Americans for soon-to-be-universally-mandated health coverage.

It’s also been reported that of the people who have managed to actually not have HealthCare.gov error on them and get themselves enrolled that incorrect information has been passed to the insurers via the government’s website and that possible compromises of personal information (leaving enrollees vulnerable to identity theft) have both occurred.

I work in information technology, and while I’m not a software developer, I’ve got a very good handle on the architecture and design that multi-tier application systems employ, of which Obamacare’s HealthCare.gov certainly is one. For those who aren’t as familiar, multi-tier applications use “front ends” (a website through which you enter or view data, for example) and “back ends” (databases or other systems for storing and organizing data). In between the front end and the back end is normally “middleware”; software that analyzes or processes data as it is inputted into the front end or retrieves data from the back end and formats it for the front end user to see. Based on the common problems reported with healthcare.gov thus far, I think it’s obvious that inter-tier communications between layers of the application are responsible for many of the failures.

It’s not like multi-tier applications are anything new. I’ve been working on multi-tier application systems for over sixteen years. Well, it appears that some software developers might need some remedial education on the programming languages, development tools, and multi-tier systems they’re working with. It certainly seems that interfacing with government-produced, supplied, or owned software components designed specifically for information exchange between applications or application tiers are a challenge for some.

Michelle Ray (Twitter’s @GaltsGirl) drew my attention to a support forum post on the Java.net site from September 4, 2013. I’m pretty sure that the author of the thread-opening post is Srini Dhanam, who according to his page on LinkedIn works for a web site called GetInsured.com. They describe themselves as, “the nation’s easiest way to shop for health insurance. Since 2005, we’ve helped more than 2 million people find the health insurance policies that best fit their needs and their budget.” Sounds like they were a private sector (gasp!) health insurance “exchange” before government had the brilliant idea they had to be, uh, invented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Mr. Dhanam is probably in the clear as far as the HealthCare.gov debacle goes for that site directly, but his support forum post indicates use of application code or programming objects that derive from government sources. One namespace URL referred to by the detailed error message he’s trying to get assistance with refers to “applicant-eligibility.ee.ffe.cms.gov” (don’t bother trying to access it; the name does not resolve). However, “cms.gov” is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responsible for administering Medicare and working in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid. I’m speculating that Mr. Dhanam’s problem could be related to difficulties getting the government’s systems in the multi-tier HealthCare.gov system to interface correctly with private insurers’ systems, which he could be working with or on.

From a data security/information assurance perspective, Dhanam’s use (as he says in his post) of version 7, Update 21 of the Java SDK and corresponding run time environment is also problematic. It expired on July 18, 2013. Version 7, Update 45 is the current release and includes many security fixes for vulnerabilities found in the earlier code.

Another identifiable organization within the post’s content is “NIEM”, the National Information Exchange Model (pronounced like “neam”). NIEM was created in 2005 as an inter-departmental panel to facilitate information sharing standards between government computer systems, and the primary cabinet-level departments who contribute to the organization are HHS, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Is anyone comforted that with an eight-year old developing standard for information sharing standardization between government departments in place, HealthCare.gov is having problems with…information sharing standardization between government departments and the private sector?

Doing some web searches on the “applicant-eligibility.ee.ffe.cms.gov” string led me to a different support forum post that includes it, plus additional references to NIEM. I tried through various approaches, but I couldn’t shed any light on the identity of that thread’s initiator, known by the handle “wbisantosh”. The first responder to his problem though, shed some interesting light on Mr. wibsantosh’s skills as a programmer (click to enlarge):

overyourhead

“Have you attended the training?…[S]eems you are in over your head.” Whether “wibsantosh” is involved in the coding of HealthCare.gov or one of the multitude of systems interfacing with it or not, that still seems like a fitting description of what has produced the horrific user experience of Obamacare thus far..

Lest anyone think a connection here to the actual HealthCare.gov site is tenuous, there’s one more thing I found. If you Google search for just the “ee.ffe” portion of the cms.gov string found from the support posts, the first item returned takes you to…drum roll, please…HealthCare.gov.

I think we’ve only scratched the surface of the technical disaster, from both information technology operational and security perspectives, that is the roll-out of Obamacare.

What do operations in the HealthCare.gov data centers or technical support centers look like? Probably something like this excerpt from the classic 1957 film starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, Desk Set:

AMAC: there’s a ‘foul odor’ coming from the deal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling

This was no confrontation between them and the Republicans;

it was a showdown between them and the people of this country.

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct 18 – “There’s a foul odor emanating from the nation’s capital that should have Americans wrinkling their noses. It’s the stench of a political power-grab undertaken by ideologues intent on usurping the Constitutional rights of the people,” according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Weber said the bargain that ended the partial shutdown of the government and raised the nation’s debt limit was a “deal with the devil. We, the people, wanted reasonable concessions in exchange for the extension of credit-things like spending cuts and controls, a health care law that would treat us and those who enacted the law the same way and much-needed checks on the growth and power of government. We got none of these things because President Obama and his Democratic henchmen dug in their heels and refused to negotiate with us. This was no confrontation between them and the Republicans on the Hill; it was a showdown between them and the people of this country. They threatened rack and ruin and forced us to give in.”

But the AMAC chief noted, it may all come back to bite them. For example, he said, even the president’s closest allies were “appalled by his mule-headed intransigence regarding the request for a delay of Obamacare. Some of his friends even went so far as to call him an inept leader. And, it’s made the mainstream media see the light.”

Weber cited the newspapers that endorsed him, like his hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, which editorialized this week saying: “There is a growing mountain of evidence that Obamacare has fundamental problems in design and implementation.”

Weber said that the Tribune went on to say what AMAC has been saying all along: “The administration cut a sweet deal for Congress and its staffers, who will continue to get generous federal subsidies. It has allowed any number of carve-outs for special pleaders. A delay in the individual mandate would not be a special favor to American consumers. It’s a matter of fairness.”

Weber said that Obamacare is only part of the problem. “The president has demanded an unfettered trillion dollar extension of his line of credit in the face of dire warnings that upping the debt limit without spending cuts is lunacy. His own Comptroller, Eugene Louis Dodaro, told him that current spending is ‘unsustainable.’ The president’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, meanwhile warned that the size of our national debt is the greatest threat to our national security. But Mr. Obama remains aloof, seemingly disdainful of anyone who dares to criticize his intrusive authority.”

How Obamacare Screws the Working Class…Hard

Now that it is becoming clear that the establishment House Republicans are about to capitulate to the Senate Democrats and Obama Progressives, it is clear that, short of Republicans taking the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016, Obamacare is set to sink into the flesh of the American entitlement system not unlike a bear’s claws sink into the flesh of its prey. Regardless of whether or not the federal healthcare exchange website functions adequately or not (get used to it, it’s government inferiority at work), the bureaucracy has just expanded and your wallets are about to do the opposite.

One of the things that people are going to have to come to understand is how the Internal Revenue Service – yes, the same Internal Revenue Service currently under investigation for targeting Conservative political groups – will be assessing the penalties (read: enforcing Obamacare) on those who choose not to “participate.” The fact of the matter is that it is both less ominous, yet more disturbing, than people think.

The penalties levied under the Affordable Care Act, under the usually heavy hand of the IRS, is not so much under the ACA. In fact, the pathway for extracting the Obamacare penalty from non-participants is exclusive to the garnishment of any federal tax refunds due. If one chooses not to acquire qualifying health insurance, the IRS will withhold the amount of the penalty that must be paid from any federal tax return refund that is owed an individual in violation of the statute.

According to BusinessInsider.com:

The IRS will not have the power to charge you criminally or seize your assets if you refuse to pay. The IRS will only have the ability to sue you. And the most the IRS can collect from you if it wins the suit is 2 times the amount you owe. So if you want to thumb your nose at the penalty-tax, the IRS won’t be able to do as much to you as they could if you refused to pay, say, income tax.

So, unlike when an individual fails to pay their federal income taxes, there won’t be a cadre of black uniformed federal agents armed with fully-automatic weapons kicking in your door in the middle of the night. You won’t be “frog-marched” out of your house in irons, past your disenchanted neighbors, to face the swift righteousness of redistributive social justice (I am being sarcastic, but less so than I would have been just a few years back).

But one question that eludes the thoughts of most people where this matter is concerned is this. What happens if you don’t “participate” in Obamacare but you aren’t due any federal tax refund? What if you are one of the 47 percent who does not pay federal income tax? What if you are über-wealthy and can afford a wizard tax attorney who can figure out how you can “zero out” on your federal taxes each year?

Well, the short answer is this. If you don’t pay federal income tax, technically, you don’t have to pay the fines under the Affordable Care Act. If you are one of the hard-working Americans who has federal taxes withheld from your paycheck – oh, you know, like Middle-Class, blue-collar and union workers not covered by the Executive Branch union carve-outs of the law – you will have to pay the penalty out of your tax refunds. If you are one of the 47 percent of the American public who doesn’t pay federal income taxes, you get to “skate” the Obamacare penalty. Ditto for the “One Percenters.”

One has to wonder whether H&R Block is going to be flooded with new clients trying to figure out how to pay their federal income taxes to the penny throughout the year so that they “zero out.”

And let’s be honesty, the IRS is not going to come after every person who “skates” the $95 dollar (or 1 percent of earnings) penalty being assessed in 2014, even if they did seek to hire upwards of 16,000 new IRS agents since the passage of this freedom-crushing law.

So, when one comes to understand this very stark reality, the obvious question is this. If the indestructible demographic (the 21 to 32 year-old demo) doesn’t sign-up for the Obamacare exchanges in droves – and droves upwards of 80% of their demographic, and 47 percent of the country doesn’t pay federal income taxes, who actually pays for the expanded coverage mandated under the Affordable Care Act? Who is on the hook for Obamacare?

The answer – again – is the Middle-Class, blue-collar and union workers not covered by the Executive Branch union carve-outs of the law…and new taxes on everyone. Again, BusinessInsider.com reports:

Here are some of the new taxes you’re going to have to pay to pay for Obamacare:

A 3.8% surtax on “investment income”( dividends, interest, rent, capital gains, annuities, house sales, partnerships, etc.) when your adjusted gross income is more than $200,000, $250,000 for joint-filers. What is “investment income?” (WSJ)

A 0.9% surtax on Medicare taxes for those making $200,000 or more, $250,000 joint. (WSJ)

Flexible Spending Account contributions will be capped at $2,500. Currently, there is no tax-related limit on how much you can set aside pre-tax to pay for medical expenses. (ATR.org)

The itemized-deduction hurdle for medical expenses is going up to 10% of adjusted gross income. (ATR.org)

The penalty on non-medical withdrawals from Healthcare Savings Accounts is now 20% instead of 10%. (ATR.org)

A tax of 10% on indoor tanning services. This has been in place for two years, since the summer of 2010. (ATR.org)

A 40% tax on “Cadillac Health Care Plans” starting in 2018.Those whose employers pay for all or most of comprehensive healthcare plans (costing $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for families) will have to pay a 40% tax on the amount their employer pays. (ATR.org)

A”Medicine Cabinet Tax” that eliminates the ability to pay for over-the-counter medicines from a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account. (ATR.org)

A “penalty” tax for those who don’t buy health insurance.

A 2.3% excise tax on medical devices costing more than $100. (Breitbart.com)

So those are some of the new taxes you’ll be paying that will help pay for Obamacare…

Note that these taxes are both “progressive” (aimed at rich people) and “regressive” (aimed at the middle class and poor people).

The cost of this program will not be affordable for the individuals – almost every story but for those who get taxpayer-funded subsidies is one of tripled premiums and deductibles, and it won’t be affordable for the country, especially when the bureaucrats and elitist political class put the price tag of the whole Obamacare ball of infected earwax at approximately $2 trillion dollars.

Now, President Obama is quoted as having said, in an interview with the Spanish-Speaking television network Univision, that:

Once [the budget impasse is rectified], you know, the day after – I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform…And if I have to join with other advocates and continue to speak out on that, and keep pushing, I’m going to do so because I think it’s really important for the country. And now is the time to do it.

And as the “indestructible” demographic (21-32 years of age) fails to sign-up for the Obamacare exchanges, pro-amnesty Progressives will begin insisting that illegal immigrants (I’m sorry, I mean undocumented uninvited guests) be added to those eligible for Obamacare. Understanding that the 47 percent of those who do not pay federal income tax cannot be fined, and that the One Percenters can affords to have their taxes “zero out,” how long will it be until Progressives scream “crisis” and demand massive, Middle-Class killing. economy destroying, Cloward-Piven-styled tax increases?

Who is John Galt?

Thomas More Society Petitions U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Autocam’s Obamacare Case

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KENTWOOD, Mich., Oct. 15, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Today, the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, joined forces with Catholic Vote Legal Defense Fund and a Michigan law firm, to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review and reverse the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ recent decision, denying the claims of Autocam, an international automotive manufacturer, and its owners, that Obamacare’s so-called “HHS mandate” abridges their federal constitutional and statutory rights to the free exercise of their religious faith as well as other legal rights. John Kennedy, CEO of Michigan-based family-owned company, Autocam, joined the company as well as its other family owners to urge the Justices to rule that the government has no right to require that Autocam purchase group insurance coverage, providing its employees with morally objectionable contraceptives, including abortifacients (e.g., the so-called abortion pill, Plan B, and “Ella”), and sterilization.

Kennedy and his children, Paul, John, Margaret, and Thomas Kennedy, all faithfully embrace the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that contraception, abortion, and sterilization are serious wrongs. The HHS mandate, therefore, forces these petitioners to flout their deeply held religious convictions and operate their company in a manner that they sincerely hold to constitute grave wrongdoing.

Prior to the government’s implementation of the HHS mandate, Autocam had specifically designed a health insurance plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan to exclude contraception, sterilization, abortion, and abortion-inducing drugs, in full accord and harmony with its owners’ profound religious beliefs.

“Forcing citizens to violate their conscientious religious beliefs makes a mockery of the very notion of religious freedom,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. “This cannot be tolerated in a society that professes to honor fundamental civil liberties.” Even apart from the constitutional rights to free exercise of religion and free speech, the company and its owners are also protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening the free exercise of religion, absent a compelling interest for doing so and then only by resort to the least burdensome means. But the petitioners for Supreme Court review contend that providing insurance for birth control or other products or services that are widely available and affordable hardly qualifies as a compelling interest, and that even if that interest were deemed compelling, the government could have opted to use other means — such as providing free contraceptives, abortifacients, or sterilizations free of charge, or subsidizing their cheap and easy accessibility for all those desiring them, without burdening or curtailing anybody else’s religious liberties.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the lawsuit on the ground that conducting business for profit is somehow wholly divorced from the religious beliefs of the business or its owners and operators. But Brejcha criticizes this ruling as reflecting a crabbed and unduly narrow view of religion, confining it to the sacred space inside the four walls of houses of worship. He argues that that morals as well as money-making have a key role to play in the marketplace; that religious faith shapes, informs and sustains one’s morals; and that a robust or meaningful religious faith must be practiced as well as professed in every aspect of life. He concludes, “Indeed, our criminal laws demand that American businesses as well as their owners act in accord with myriad laws designed to serve the public welfare and the common good, rather than maximization of profits. People of faith must not be coerced to check their religious liberties at the door when they enter the commercial marketplace.”

Read the Autocam petition filed with the United States Supreme Court here.

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