07/25/14

Obamacare Receives a Split Decision from the Courts

By: Bethany Stotts
Accuracy in Media

The courts this week issued two conflicting rulings regarding whether the federal government has the ability to provide subsidies to persons purchasing health care on the federal exchanges under the so-called Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The battle of the courts has the potential to affect not only the provision of federal subsidies, but also the enforcement of the individual mandate and the employer mandate.

“The ruling also could undermine the requirement for larger employers to offer health coverage to their employees,” reports The New York Times’ Robert Pear on the 2-1 vote by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. “That requirement is enforced through penalties imposed on employers if any of their employees receive subsidies to buy insurance on an exchange.” Thus, the Washington Examiner noted back in March that, if the plaintiffs ultimately win, “anti-Obamacare states could become more attractive to businesses trying to get around the employer mandate.”

Accuracy in Media’s Roger Aronoff reported on this ruling’s potential back in March of this year, when most of the media were focusing on the Hobby Lobby case. At that time, he predicted that it was likely that the ruling would be in favor of the plaintiffs, who support the plain language of the law, i.e., that federal subsidies are only supposed to go to individuals who have signed up for healthcare on state exchanges, and that an en banc review was likely, meaning the full court will hear the case.

As Aronoff pointed out, MSBNC’s Adam Serwer hopes that an en banc review would rule in favor of the government because the President has stacked the court. “Though judges’ opinions don’t always track with those of the party that appointed them, thanks to the changes to the filibuster, more Democratic appointees than Republican appointees would rule on the matter,” Serwer wrote. “Of the 11 judges that could rehear the case, seven are Democrats and four are Republicans,” reports Fox News. Indeed, an en banc judgment could easily overturn this ruling and favor the government.

Fox also reports that the D.C. Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the plaintiffs dealt Obamacare a “major blow” because there are only 14 state-run exchanges. The Washington Times calls it a “massive setback” that could “blow a massive hole in President Obama’s signature domestic achievement.”

The Obama administration seems unconcerned about the ruling. Little surprise, considering that the Fourth Circuit ruled in their favor on the same issue on the same day, within hours. “While this ruling is interesting to legal theorists, it has no practical impact,” said press secretary Josh Earnest about the D.C. Court of Appeals ruling, which had described the Justice Department as “tilting at windmills.”

After the “en banc” hearing, this case may go the Supreme Court.

But the media—even conservative media—are committing malpractice in their coverage of this issue.

Currently, according to Fox News, the government estimates that it will pay $1 trillion in subsidies over the next 10 years. The average subsidy is about $4,400 per person this year, according to Pear. But what are they purchasing? Is it “affordable” care?

Fox News and other outlets fall into a dangerous trap in talking about the provision of “affordable” health insurance. As we have discussed earlier, there is no such thing as an “affordable” Affordable Care Act, which depends on the redistribution of monies from one group to another through subsidies and taxes.

And it seems like those with Obamacare sometimes may not even receive treatment while covered. Yet, Fox’s Barnini Chakraborty writes, “Nearly 90 percent of the federal exchange’s insurance enrollees were eligible for subsidies because of low or moderate incomes, and the outcome of the case could potentially leave millions without affordable health insurance.” If the health care’s not affordable, it’s likely because the costs have skyrocketed due to the law, not despite it. The Washington Times’ Tom Howell calls the subsidies “critical to making coverage affordable.” Pear writes, “Subsidies, in the form of tax credits, are a crucial element of the Affordable Care Act. Without them, insurance would be unaffordable to millions of Americans.”

And thus a new entitlement upon which members of the populace have artificially been made dependent is defended in the guise of helping the helpless.

This isn’t affordable coverage; this is highway bank robbery.

You want free, cheap or subsidized health care? Then you’ll take what the government gives you, whether that means you can see your doctor or not. We’ve long known that Obama was lying when he said, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.” But now that reality is coming home to roost.

Consider, for example, Shawnna Simpson, who I reported about in January. She was unable to find a family doctor who accepted her insurance within her county due to a narrow network. That was in Tennessee. Politico’s Brett Norman reports more recently that “In New Hampshire, for instance, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield was the only insurer on the market, and it cut 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals out of its network.” And, he reports, “Even if a patient goes to an in-network hospital, not all the doctors are necessarily part of the plan. For instance, patients can get stuck with thousands of dollars in bills for anesthesia, even if surgery is covered.”

These types of shenanigans have become a major electoral issue. “But since the beginning of 2013, more than 70 bills have been introduced in 22 states to clarify the network rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures,” writes Norman. He casts the issue as a waiting game for consumers: next year will be better. But customers shouldn’t have to pay a whole year for a failing product just because the government takes a year to fix itself. Nor should they have to swallow the line that subsidies make Obamacare “affordable,” when the Heritage Foundation has shown that 45 out of 50 states saw price increases in the first year of this law. Now, faced with a potential broadening of their narrow networks, insurers threaten that they cannot control costs, according to Norman.

Heritage called savings under Obamacare a “fantasy” back in 2013. It’s still a fantasy now, and one that the conservative media should not be furthering alongside the mainstream media.

07/25/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 07/25/14

The Watcher’s Council

An ode to the rise of the street art resistance… You guys rock!!! Freaking epic – vampire, RINO and Progressive hunters, unite!


Unsavory Agents

Ted Cruz via Facebook:

Of all the places I never thought to be mentioned, HBO’s True Blood vampire show would have to be near the top of the list. Sunday night, they aired a misogynist and profanity-ridden episode where Texas Republicans are murdered attending a “Ted Cruz fundraiser.”

Well, I’m sorry to have lost the vampire vote, but am astonished (and amused) that HBO is suggesting that hard-core leftists are blood-sucking fiends…

[...]

Then again, I guess I never had a chance w/ the vampire vote since the dead tend to vote overwhelmingly for Dems.


Truth Revolt: LA Street Artist Blasts Obama for ‘Scandalous’ Fundraiser


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Alea iacta est… the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

“One of the critical issues that we have to confront is illegal immigration, because this is a multi-headed Hydra that affects our economy, our health care, our education systems, our national security and also our local criminality.” – Allen West

“Poor Mexico, so far from G-d, so close to the United States.” – Porfirio Diaz, Former Mexican Presidente 1876-1911

“BREATHES there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,’This is my own, my native land!’… – Sir Walter Scott, Innominatus

Terresa over at The Noisy Room has been all over the story of what’s going on at our southern border and her winning essay, Orchestrated Invasion – The Eradication Of America’s Borders is a great read that examines what’s going on in-depth and shows exactly how it happened, who’s responsible and where we’re headed unless we fix it. Here’s a slice:

If you had any doubts whatsoever that the whole border crisis was planned, this should fix that. Obama and Biden will meet with Central American leaders next week at the White House to discuss promoting legal, orderly migration. In essence, they will discuss the eradication of our borders, the end of American sovereignty and the furtherance of a collaborative, communist plan to redistribute wealth, people, assets and to create, in the end, a North American Union.

America, you have been betrayed by your leaders and your country is in the final stages of a destructive conspiracy that benefits a few elitist Marxists and destroys your liberty forever. How’s that hope and change working for you now?

For decades, US corrupt officials have sent billions to Central and South America to line the pockets of corrupt officials there. The thought was that it would placate them and keep them from attacking us, but that only makes your enemies hate you more. Virtually every country there is now ruled by a Communist and/or dictator. We have declared the Monroe Doctrine dead and now Russia, China and Iran are moving into our backyard en force.

For those who missed what the Monroe Doctrine was all about, it was basically a declaration that those Latin-American nations which had declared themselves independent should be free from European interference and aggressive colonization. America had only recently achieved her own independence and considered “any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.” Declaring the Monroe Doctrine “dead” basically says, “we no longer care about our national security, so we invite our aggressively colonial buddies — communist and otherwise — to subvert and conquer our Southern neighbors.”

Instead of fighting back against an ever growing terrorist threat, Obama and Biden are enabling them by actively recruiting a precursory invasion force of so-called children in the 10′s of thousands to come across our border, using American’s heart strings as a garrote to strangle us with. Obama is then shipping them to every corner of the country and then the real invasion comes when the families follow by the millions, changing the voting demographic in America once and for all, ensuring Marxist control no matter what happens here. Obama has three years left to finish the destruction of America and it is right on schedule. Now, he goes to meet leaders who have signed agreements to fast-track this atrocity. Faster, faster pussycat… kill.

From Ironic Surrealism:

(The Hill) –President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador on July 25, the White House announced on Friday.

Obama and Biden will meet with President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala, President Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador and President Juan Hernández of Honduras, to discuss the recent surge of migrants across the U.S. border.

In the meeting, the leaders will discuss how the governments are “cooperating to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration” between the countries “in a spirit of shared responsibility” including “with respect to the return of family units,” a process which began this week for the three Central American countries, according to the White House.

The meeting is also expected to include discussions on how the countries can work together to bolster economic growth and development along with security in the central American region as well as address the “factors” that are causing the migrants to attempt to cross the border.

Everything about this incursion reeks of evil. Obama is directly involved in human trafficking, the heartless deaths of who knows how many children, rape, murder, the importation of deadly infectious diseases, gangs, drugs and weapons and the furtherance of the spread of poverty and misery throughout the United States. Obama hates America and wants her brought to her colonial knees. This is his gift to us – the gift of death, destruction and slavery.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Sultan Knish with It’s Another “Death to the Jews” Weekend, submitted by The Noisy Room. It’s interesting that Knish’s piece and the second place winner, Mark Steyn’sFields Of Blood, submitted by Bookworm Room cover very similar ground, but from different aspects, with the Sultan focusing on a more narrow canvas, while Steyn broadens his. Great reads and recommended, both of ‘em.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

07/23/14

IRS Scandal – IRS Chief Faces Questions About Credibility Before House Panel

Hat Tip: BB

Tale of the Tapes: IRS head confirms investigators have found backup tapes in Lerner probe

Watch: Rep. Gowdy slams IRS commissioner for dragging feet on congressional investigation

In brutal new grilling, Rep. Trey Gowdy shreds IRS commissioner over agency’s shifting stories

IRS Commissioner: We’re Not Investigating The Missing Emails Right Now

07/23/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Standing With Israel Edition

The Watcher’s Council

http://oneway2day.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/bho-stands-with-israel-leans-to-pa-toon.jpg

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

* Bookworm over at Bookworm Room scored with this wonderful poster featured at American Thinker:

Main Image

This week, The MidKnight Review, Seraphic Secret, The Pirate’s Cove and Blazing Cat Fur earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor  by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

07/22/14

As Russia’s Isolation Grows, Oil Companies Caught in Middle

The confrontation between Russia and the West took a turn for the worse with the downing of a Malaysian airliner on July 17, and that could spell trouble for several major oil companies operating in Russia.

Just one day earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on Russia over its ongoing role in the destabilization of Ukraine. The sanctions prohibited American banks from issuing loans with a maturity of over 90 days to four key Russian companies – Rosneft, Novatek, Gazprombank, and VEB.

“Because Russia has failed to meet the basic standards of international conduct, we are acting today to open Russia’s financial services and energy sectors to sanctions,” U.S. Treasury Official David S. Cohen said in a press release describing the agency’s actions.

The sanctions tightened the economic noose on the Russian economy by targeting companies in Russia’s energy sector. Up until now, western sanctions largely targeted individuals in the Russian elite, freezing their assets or issuing bans on American companies from doing business with them. But with oil and gas accounting for over 50 percent of revenues for the Russian state, if Obama wanted sanctions to have any bite, he had to escalate the campaign by going after Russia’s energy sector.

Until the July 16 announcement, the major western oil companies operating in Russia shrugged off their effects. Companies like BP, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell defied White House pressure to avoid doing business with Russia.

They made a big bet on the likelihood that their billion-dollar projects would not be affected by the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the West.

But the markets took the latest round of sanctions much more seriously than their previous iterations. Rosneft saw its share price decline by 6.2 percent the day of the announcement, and Novatek was off 11.5 percent.

And western companies were not safe either. BP lost $4.4 billion in its market value on July 17. BP owns a 19.8 percent share of Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company that was singled out by Obama’s sanctions. Nearly one-third of BP’s global oil production – or 1 million barrels per day – comes from its investment in Rosneft.

ExxonMobil also has massive business plans with Rosneft. The two companies are drilling a $300 million well in Siberia, and next month they plan on drilling a $700 million well in the Russian Arctic, the country’s most expensive in history. ExxonMobil and Rosneft have also agreed to jointly develop an LNG export terminal on Russia’s Pacific coast. The Houston-based ExxonMobil has thus far maintained that the projects will be unaffected by sanctions, but that has been thrown into doubt after the U.S. Treasury Department’s latest move.

On July 18, Zacks.com, a market research firm, warned investors
Russian President Vladimir Putin scoffed at the sanctions, saying that they will merely hurt American energy companies. “This means that U.S. companies willing to work in Russia will lose their competitiveness next to other global energy companies,” Putin said. “So, do they not want it to work here? They are causing damage to their major energy companies.”

With financing likely to be increasingly hard to come by for Russia’s major oil and gas companies, several of them are looking east for access to lending. As The New York Times notes, Russian energy companies are becoming more dependent on Chinese finance to pay for their capital-intensive projects. Partly, this is due to China looking for more Russian energy, but it is also because Russia sees the door slowly closing on access to western banks.

The rift between Russia and the West is bound to worsen after in the aftermath of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 being shot down by a surface-to-air missile in pro-Russian rebel territory. And the cumulative effect of recent sanctions could be minor compared to what may be coming. The U.S. could issue far-reaching sanctions, and the incident could help European Union leaders overcome their hesitation over inflicting damage on the Russian economy.

The international community has called for a full investigation, but right now, all roads appear to be leading to Moscow. Perhaps fearing the fallout from the incident, Putin called for a cease fire in Ukraine.

Swept up in the international crisis are the major oil companies – BP and ExxonMobil – who fear their bottom line taking a big hit from Russia’s growing isolation.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/As-Russias-Isolation-Grows-Oil-Companies-Caught-in-Middle.html

By Nicholas Cunningham of Oilprice.com

07/18/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 07/18/14

The Watcher’s Council

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

This week’s winning entry, Joshuapundit’s Israel’s New Challenge: Defeating The Third Intifada is a slightly different take on the current war between Israel and Hamas, and especially that it is no accident. Here’s a slice:

Israel once again finds itself fighting in Gaza.

The reason’s fairly simple. The lust for Jewish blood among a substantial number of the Arabs who identify themselves as Palestinians is simply their strongest impulse, their raison d’être. There is no peace, because one side simply wants the other dead.

There is not a single Israeli civilian or soldier in Gaza today, not since Israel removed the 8,000 Jewish residents who had lived there over 30 years from their homes and gave it to the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians as a sacrifice ‘for peace.’

The Palestinians could have built whatever kind of society they wanted in Gaza. But even before Hamas took over, Gaza’s main export to Israel was terrorism. Israel, with Egypt’s assistance, maintained a blockade on Gaza to curtail the import of heavy weapons, usually emanating from Iran that saved Israeli lives, but cost Israel deeply when it came to the ‘international community’, who always seem to have special rules when it comes to Israel defending itself. The carnage emanating from Gaza has slowed at times, but literally thousands of rockets, mortar shells and terrorist strikes have emanated from Gaza, and they’ve never ended. Israelis became used to running for shelter, especially in the south:

This latest onslaught saw over 100 rockets in 24 hours rained down on Israel, and with Hamas rejecting offers from Israel of ‘quiet for quiet’, that’s where we stand now. The Israelis have carried out a number of decisive strikes and have called up 42,000 reserves, while Hamas has launched missiles at central Israel, at Jerusalem, and at Tel Aviv, a step they had to know was going to provoke an Israeli ground response.

So what’s the story behind the story? Why is Hamas going for broke now, and what does it mean? Whether Israel realizes it or not, they are facing the Third Intifada, although how it unfolds is still developing. Of course, it doesn’t look like previous intifadas because circumstances and tactics have changed. But the end goal is the same. And the chief strategist isn’t Hamas, but Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas has been isolated by Israel and the new Egyptian government of al-Sisi, who has declared Hamas’ parent movement the Muslim Brotherhood an illegal terrorist organization. Weapons coming in from Iran have slowed considerably, and money is tight. A sign of this was the attempt by Hamas ally Robert Serry, the supposedly neutral UN Mideast envoy to illegally funnel $20 million to Hamas in Gaza from Qatar.

The current Hamas and Fatah unity government agreement came about, mostly on Abbas’ terms, because of Hamas’ sharply reduced fortunes, while Abbas has the UN, the Obama Administration and the EU funding and backing him, even with Hamas now on his team. According to my sources, part of the negotiations also involved joint efforts towards the goal both Hamas and Fatah agree on, the destruction of Israel.


The Israelis, already outraged at the unity agreement and the West’s apparent willingness to fund a murderous terrorist group like Hamas were further energized by the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas operatives, whose mutilated bodies were found shoved into a hole near Hebron. In response, the Israelis began to obliterate the Hamas infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.

But then, the subsequent murder of Arab teen Mohammed Abu Kheidr by what appear to be a trio of Jewish football hooligans suddenly presented Hamas and Fatah with a golden opportunity. It was used as a signal to launch what had already been planned. Vast riots, violence and destruction took place throughout Israel egged on by Fatah while Hamas stepped up its rocket and mortar attacks.

Hamas also had plans to join Fatah in the ground attack on Israel itself. They had a huge tunnel dug from Rafah under Israel’s border fence for a massive planned assault on Israeli communities in the south, and tried an amphibious attack on Israel’s coast. Both attacks were repulsed with heavy losses. Meanwhile, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and the IDF’s air strikes on Hamas’ infrastructure were even more effective than Hamas had planned on and that Israel had hoped.

Israel’s ‘peace partner’ Mahmoud Abbas has also been doing his part. Fatah has several hundred militiamen in Gaza, including members of the Palestinian Authority security forces who have their salaries paid by Western governments. They have eagerly joined in firing rockets at Israel’s civilians. Abbas has done nothing to stop them.

Abbas has several huge assets his old boss Yasser Arafat could only have dreamed about, and they’re key to understanding what’s being planned. First and foremost, in Barack Hussein Obama, Abbas has a president in the White House who loathes Israel and who sees himself as Palestine’s community organizer.

More at the link about Abbas’ strategy and how Israel can defeat it.

In our non-Council category, the winner was long tome Council favorite Daniel Greenfield, AKA Sultan Knish with A Game Changer In Gaza submitted by The Independent Sentinel. Knish writes with his usual clarity and common sense about the choices Israel faces in dealing with Palestinian terrorism.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!