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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Inspector General Finds Rampant Tax Fraud
Bankrupting America: Last week, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced a followup report on fraudulent tax refunds issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For the 2011 tax year, $3.6 billion in potentially fraudulent tax refunds were sent to at least 1.1 million individuals. The returns were filed using fake Social Security numbers and were sent to Lithuania, Ireland and Bulgaria.
According to the report, the IRS sent 701 potentially fraudulent returns to Bulgaria worth a total of $490,735. Lithuania received $228,993 in 676 questionable filings, with 655 going to a single address. Ireland was not far behind with 657 potentially fraudulent refunds totaling $282,926, as well as 343 returns going to an address in Shanghai, China. In addition, the TIGTA also identified 141,000 tax returns that were filed using stolen individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs). According to The Washington Post, these are issued to workers who do not qualify for Social Security numbers. In 2011, the IRS issued $385 million for those returns.
In a separate TIGTA report released on Sept. 26, the inspector general found that the IRS spent an average of 312 days resolving potential identity theft claims. The agency found that 1.6 million taxpayers were affected by fraudulent claims as of June 2013, up from 1.2 million affected during all of 2012. The Post noted the problems could have risen from the agency requiring staffers to answer telephone inquiries about the theft. According to the TIGTA, nearly three-quarters of 183 IRS employees surveyed found that the process for dealing with identity theft claims was confusing.
While no government theft is redeemable, it is important to note that IRS is making progress. Improper returns to identity thieves were down $1.6 billion compared to the 2010 filing season. In 2010, the TIGTA identified $5.2 billion in questionable tax returns. USA Today reported the IRS is developing new identity theft screening filters and has since 2011 stopped 12.6 million questionable returns worth over $40 billion in refunds. Tags:fraud, IRS, Treasury, Inspector General for Tax Administration, TIGTA, IRS, fraudulent claims, identity theft, fraud, waste, Bankrupting AmericaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Everyone's focused on the health care lie, but there's another far more dangerous. When will American Jews wake up? ~ Allen West (@AllenWest)
by Lt. Col Allen West, Former US Representative (R-FL): Americans are single-mindedly focused on one particular Obama lie: “If you like your healthcare plan you can keep it period.” This purposeful, blatant deceit of the American people, on top of past lies (such as a crude video being the impetus for the spontaneous demonstration resulting in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya) has eroded any trust, confidence, and credibility for Barack Obama.
However, there is another lie which has far greater implications for American credibility: “Iran will not get nuclear weapons.”
According to the follow-on reports from the negotiations of the UN P5+1 and Iran in Geneva, President Obama, through his characterless mouthpiece, Secretary of State John Kerry, was willing to end all sanctions against the rogue Islamic regime for minuscule concessions.
Even worse, our allies in the Middle East know of this betrayal. And to have Mr. Kerry further threaten Israel’s economic and national security forcing them to bend to President Obama’s PLO love fest is unconscionable.
America under Barack Hussein Obama is being fundamentally transformed into a weak, retreating, untrustworthy actor on the international stage. The Obama administration severely lacks integrity, which reflects adversely upon our nation and its citizens.
I hope at some point the American Jewish community will awaken. I’ve almost lost any hope for my own black community, which is being led to a slaughter in the inner cities. If the Jewish American community continues to live in the fantasy world that these progressive socialists actually care about Israel, it is completely delusional. Tags:Allen West, Barack Obama, Benghazi, Col Allen West, Geneva, Iran, Israel, Jewish, Jews, John Kerry, United Nations, United StatesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson Delivers Weekly Republican Address
‘Now America must face the truth, and Congress must work to limit the damage that Obamacare will inflict on our health care system and people's lives. The systemic failure of the healthcare.gov website and cancelled policies are only the tip of this destructive iceberg.’ WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the Weekly Republican Address, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin calls on Democrats to join Republicans in passing legislation he authored to limit the damage of the deeply flawed Obamacare health law. Referring to the President’s comments at a news conference this week, Senator Johnson says that President Obama did “far more than just fumble the ball” on the healthcare rollout. Senator Johnson has introduced the ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep it Act,’ which would help millions of Americans keep the health care plans and doctors they like – a promise President Obama made dozens of times both before and after passage of the law. “Unfortunately, the implementation of Obamacare has progressed to a point where millions of cancelled plans cannot be reinstated,” says Senator Johnson. “But the freedom of millions of Americans to keep doctors, treatments, and health plans they do value can still be preserved if Congress acts swiftly and decisively.” Video and transcript below:
A full transcript of the address follows:
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
“Hi, I'm Senator Ron Johnson from the great State of Wisconsin.
“President Obama said he wants to fundamentally transform America. So far, his attempt to transform our health care system has not been pretty – with Obamacare, he did far more than just fumble the ball.
“Contrary to his repeated promise, that ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ millions of Americans are not only losing their insurance coverage, they are losing access to the doctors and treatments that have kept them alive.
“President Obama's so-called apology, was as phony as his fraudulent marketing of Obamacare. He seemed to be saying he was sorry Americans actually believed him, but took no responsibility for their plight. It was like telling someone you're sorry their dog died, but refusing to acknowledge you ran over the dog.
“Sorry Mr. President, it didn't work. Millions of Americans are coming to realize that those are your tire tracks on their cancelled policies. It is also obvious that you didn't inadvertently misspeak when you promised Americans they can keep their doctors and health plans - and do it all at a lower cost.
“Those assurances weren't slight exaggerations or innocent shadings of the truth. They were statements that were fully vetted, coldly calculated, and carefully crafted to deceptively sell your health care plan to a trusting public. It was a political fraud echoed relentlessly by House and Senate Democrats who should be held accountable for the disastrous consequences of their grand deception.
“Consumer fraud this massive in the private sector could – and should – bear serious legal ramifications. For President Obama, however, it helped secure enough votes to pass Obamacare, and win reelection.
“Now America must face the truth, and Congress must work to limit the damage that Obamacare will inflict on our health care system and people's lives. The systemic failure of the healthcare.gov website and cancelled policies are only the tip of this destructive iceberg.
“Because if you think only those that buy individual policies will lose their coverage, think again. Obamacare creates huge incentives for businesses to stop providing health care as a benefit. As a result, millions more will lose their tax-exempt employer-sponsored health plan and be forced to try buying insurance with after-tax dollars on the exchanges.
“Hopefully, Americans who were deceived will question the credibility of those who made so many false promises. Does anyone actually believe Obamacare is bending the cost curve down, that working Americans won't be forced to pick up the tab, that the quality of care won't suffer, rationing won't occur, or that much needed medical innovation won't be diminished?
“Does anyone really believe their personal information in the hands of federal bureaucrats will remain private and won't be abused, or that Obamacare will actually reduce federal debt and deficits?
“I’m asking every American to believe what their eyes and ears are telling them. The federal government is dysfunctional. It is broken, ineffective, and inefficient. Do you really want Washington taking over a greater share of our health care system – getting more involved in your health care decisions? Americans are finding out that is a prescription for disaster.
“Obamacare will not fix an imperfect health care system. It will cause more damage for far more people than any problems it will ever solve. Now is the time to start reversing that damage – before it’s too late.
“A good place to start would be supporting the bill I introduced in the Senate called ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep it Act,’ or a similar measure just passed in the House. Unfortunately, the implementation of Obamacare has progressed to a point where millions of cancelled plans cannot be reinstated. But the freedom of millions of Americans to keep doctors, treatments, and health plans they do value can still be preserved if Congress acts swiftly and decisively.
“I also plan to introduce a new bill titled ‘Preserve Freedom and Choice in Health Care,’ which will attempt to protect liberty and the rights of individuals to make their own health care decisions. We need long-term solutions to the Obamacare debacle, not short-term political fixes like those recently proposed by the President and Senate Democrats that simply will not work.
“Throughout the health care debate, Republicans have proposed dozens of solutions designed to help control costs and improve quality – without surrendering control of your personal health care decisions to nameless bureaucrats in Washington. Now is the time to enact those common sense ideas.
“But none of this will occur unless the American people hold those who supported Obamacare accountable – and do so with a very loud voice. Democrat Senators must help Republicans pass legislation to limit the damage of Obamacare. If not, those who choose to ignore the plight of millions of Americans should be replaced next November by those who will act.
“Thank you”Tags:U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson, Weekly Republican Address, President Obama, fundamentally transform America, Obamacare, bill, Preserve Freedom and Choice in Health CareTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: The polls and the pundits tell us that the people of the United States of America are deeply divided politically and they’re right.
A bit of history helps to understand this.
The former colonies that later became the states when they accepted a federal form of government were always divided, along with their citizens, a goodly portion of whom did not want to declare independence and go to war with Great Britain. After it became clear that the Articles of Confederation were useless, a group of wealthy elites got together in Philadelphia and, in the greatest secrecy, scrapped the Articles and wrote our revered Constitution.
Fortunately, this group—now called the “framers” or “founders” — were highly educated for their time, most were successful businessmen and/or farmers. However, to call George Washington, who presided at the meeting, a farmer was an understatement. Washington owned thousands of acres and had many enterprises related to the crops he grew with the assistance of several hundred slaves. Washington was one of the wealthiest men in the nation. He and others may not have liked slavery, but there were no tractors, harvesters, or other farm equipment of later eras. Plows were still pulled by oxen or horses. If you wanted to get anywhere, you either went on foot, by horse, in a carriage, or by boat.
Washington, having led the armies of the aspiring American nation to victory over eight years, was a universally revered commander who had ultimately demanded and got complete control over the military from a generally useless continental congress that notoriously failed to pay the army.
When the Constitution has been ratified by enough states to become the new government of the new nation, there was never any question in anyone’s mind as to who should be its first President. As Harlow Giles Unger, the author of a new, excellent book, “Mr. President”: George Washington and the Making of the Nation’s Highest Office”, makes clear “…in one of the defining events in the creation of the U.S. presidency, Washington startled his countrymen by ignoring the constitution limits on presidential powers and ordering troops to crush tax protests by American citizens—much as the British government had tried, and failed, to do in the years leading up to the American Revolution.” History and life is filled with ironies.
Unger makes clear an aspect of our history that is generally unknown, but based on Washington’s experience with the Continental Congress during the Revolution, “from the moment he took office in the spring of 1789, Washington was obsessed with establishing the President as ‘the supreme power to govern the general concerns of a confederated republic.’ Fearing anarchy, disunion, and an end to American freedom if he failed to act decisively, he transformed himself—and the presidency—from a relatively impotent figurehead into America’s most powerful leader, creating what modern scholars have called the ‘imperial presidency.’”
Over the eight years of his two terms as the nation’s first President, Washington turned the office into one that “controlled executive appointments, foreign policy, military affairs, government finances, and federal law enforcement, along with the power to legislate by presidential proclamation and to issue secret fiats under the cloak of executive privilege.”
I share this with you because it is useful to know that even Washington was called a 'usurper' of power in his day when there was still a lot of fear that an American monarchy would be imposed. Despite the high regard with which Washington was held, it took the power of his personality, his high level of leadership, and his personal integrity to create the presidency that we still have to this day.
John Adams served as Washington’s Vice President and observed that “The executive and the legislative powers are natural rivals; and if each has not an effectual control over the other, the weaker will ever be the lamb in the paws of the wolf. The nation which will not adopt an equilibrium of power must adopt a despotism. There is no alternative. Rivalries must be controlled or they will throw things into confusion.”
After five years of Obama as President, we have seen that equilibrium swing back and forth and, indeed, this has been the history of the three branches of our government. It is now swinging away from Obama as his former support wanes and the impact of the aptly named Tea Party movement increases. The U.S. is only a year away for his powers to be blunted by a Congress that is likely to swing in the direction of conservative, Republican leadership.
As stressful as the process is for everyone, this is the way the nation was intended to be governed and the enmities that are inherent in that process are the price we pay in a nation whose population is sharply divided between those who have little knowledge of our history or of the manner in which we have emerged from many crises in the past and grown stronger.
This is not a time for despair. It is a time to harness the power of the people who hold the Constitution in high regard and to vote for those who share that regard.
------------------ Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, "Warning Signs"disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service. Tags:United States, divided nation, history, George Washington, John Adams, founding fathers, Alan Caruba, warning signsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
RSC presses Obama Administration To Increase Iran Sanctions
Washington, D.C. – The Republican Study Committee today pressed the Obama Administration to increase sanctions on Iran.
“A nuclear armed Iran is not only dangerous to America’s national security, but it would also pose a serious threat to the future of our strong ally Israel,” RSC Chairman Steve Scalise said. “Time and time again, Iran has proven it cannot be trusted, yet the Obama Administration stands poised to roll back existing sanctions that by all reports are working. That’s not only naive and dangerous, it also seriously jeopardizes the US-Israel relationship. In order to continue holding Iran accountable, it’s vital that we take steps to impose tougher sanctions on Iran until they verifiably dismantle their nuclear enrichment facilities.
“Israel is our strongest ally and most trusted friend in the region, and before taking any action, President Obama would do well to consult with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has called any waiving of sanctions 'very, very bad' and 'the deal of the century’ for Iran. It is time for the Senate to join with us in standing strong against a nuclear armed Iran by taking up the bill passed by the House to increase sanctions.”
The House passed H.R. 850, a bill to increase sanctions on Iran, at the end of July by an overwhelming vote of 400 – 20. Tags:RSC, Republican Study Committee, US House, Obama administration, Iran, sanctionsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The reality is that the Administration is delaying the impact of major parts of the law, including the employer mandate and now the benefit mandates for health plans.
There’s a slight problem: As the President so readily reminded us, Obamacare is still the law of the land. Without undoing the law, everything that has people up in arms—the higher costs, mandates, plan cancellations—will still happen.
And this latest one-year “fix” isn’t a given. As Heritage’s Chris Jacobs put it: “The President’s promise that his new ‘plan’ can allow people to keep their plans is just as flawed and false as his original ‘like your plan/keep it’ pledge.”
Insurance commissioners in several states have already said no, we can’t change the rules again and allow companies to un-cancel plans in our states. Two warnings from insurance officials:
Disrupting the market even further. “I have serious concerns about how President Obama’s proposal would be implemented and more significantly, its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market,” said Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. He announced that “We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.”
Hurting consumers. “Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of [Obamacare] could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” said Karen Ignagni, CEO of insurance trade association America’s Health Insurance Plans.
Heritage’s Jacobs points out that President Obama’s extra-legal “fix” could even result in the Administration offering insurers a bailout if they bring back canceled plans. It’s just one debacle after another.
People don’t trust President Obama on this anymore. And they shouldn’t. Because Obamacare is doing exactly what it was intended to do—and no amount of delays can change that.
That’s why we need a different direction for health reform that people can trust. Tags:Obamacarer, Affordable Care Act, cancellations, consumers, employer mandate, health insurance, health reform, insurance companies, mandates, premiums, President ObamaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Obamacare Remains Above The Proverbial Fold In D.C.
Obamacare Today Still Above The Fold
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 15, 2013
The House reconvened today at 9 AM. and immediately focused on the Keep Your Health Plan Act, H.R. 3350 — "To authorize health insurance issuers to continue to offer for sale current individual health insurance coverage in satisfaction of the minimum essential health insurance coverage requirement, and for other purposes." By 1:36 PM, the bill had passed 261 - 157. The breakdown in votes: 226 Republicans and 39 Democrats voted for the bill and 153 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted against the bill. Eight democrats and two republicans did not vote. While 39 Democrats stood with the Republicans, again the majority of democrats showed their opposition to helping people "keep their healthcare policy if they like it."
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) commented on the need for the bill: “As President Clinton recently acknowledged, millions of families are losing their health insurance plans because of Obamacare. President Obama looked Americans in the eye and promised that wouldn’t happen, but that’s just not true. While our bill will allow folks to keep their plans for another year, it’s clear that Obamacare is a broken law, and its broken website is only the beginning. Obamacare must be repealed so we can pass real, patient-centered health care reform.”
With duplicitous actions by the Democrats with President Obama saying one thing yesterday but also threatening to veto the "Save Your Health Care Act" if it was passed has sent a clear signal to Democrats to keep in lock-step opposing all efforts to help individual Americans from losing their healthcare. We can expect Senator Harry Reid to block the bill in the Senate or if were to allow the bill to be voted on then Senate progressive democrats would act to defeat the bill rather than helping to relieve the catastrophic pain inflected on their constituents and all other Americans over healthcare. Their agenda is clear. If pain leads to a single payer system with absolute government control of healthcare in America, the democrats are all for it.
Yesterday the House passed H.R. 2655 (228-195) — "To amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve attorney accountability, and for other purposes."
The House also passed (347-76) a motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 3080 – the Water Resources Reform Act. The Senate had amended the House bill and the majority of the House disagreed with the Senate action. Speaker Boehner immediately appointed 16 Republicans as House Republican negotiators to serve on the House-Senate Conference Committee. In doing so, the speaker said, "Reforming the way our country develops and maintains vital ports and waterways will strengthen our economy and help create new job. The vote for the House bill was nearly unanimous. It cuts red tape, increases accountability, and protects taxpayers – all without earmarks. I’m confident our negotiators will come to a quick resolution that includes these reforms – one that both the House and Senate can pass and the president can sign.”
The Senate is not in session today and will reconvene on Monday at 2 PM.
At 5 PM Monday, the Senate will begin a very short debate on the nomination of Robert Wilkins to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Wilkins is the third in a series of left-wing nominees to that court whom Democrats are pushing in an explicit attempt to both distract from Obamacare and “switch the majority” of the court so it can rubberstamp the president’s executive branch excesses. Senate Republicans have blocked the last two nominees Democrats tried to push through, Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard. At 5:30 Monday, there will be a cloture vote (i.e. to cut off debate and advance the nomination) on the Wilkins nomination.
If cloture is not invoked on the nomination, the Senate will then vote on cloture on H.R. 3204, the FDA pharmaceutical drug compounding bill. If cloture is invoked, the Senate will then vote on final passage of H.R. 3204. Finally, there will be a vote on cloture on the motion to proceed (i.e. whether to take up) S. 1197, the Defense Authorization bill.
Despite President Obama’s lengthy excuse-ridden press conference yesterday to try to announce a “fix” to an Obamacare provision that violates a promise he made repeatedly that “If you have health insurance and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period,” editorial pages were decidedly unimpressed.
The president’s hometown Chicago Tribune writes, “As Friday dawns, here's what a health insurance crisis looks like to many millions of Americans: Barely six weeks shy of 2014, they do not know whether they will have medical coverage Jan. 1. Or which hospitals and doctors they might patronize. Or what they may pay to protect themselves and their families against the chance of medical and financial catastrophe. How much, that is, they may pay in order to satisfy the Democratic politicians and federal bureaucrats who are worsening a metastasizing health coverage fiasco. For perhaps 5 million of those Americans thus far — estimates vary — the Washington-ordered cancellation of their policies is especially maddening. In the past these people took responsibility for their coverage and bought policies that balanced their needs, finances and personal choices. Congress and President Barack Obama, by enacting the Affordable Care Act, in effect ordered insurers to dismantle many of those individual plans — and cancel those policies. . . . So, what Obama presented Thursday as a favor looks like one more mess for state governments, insurers and ... American citizens. Under the policy Obama articulated, the states and insurers aren't required to do anything. The American citizens? Under Obamacare, they're still required to have health insurance. Or pay a government fine.”
The Wall Street Journal is unsparing, explaining, “You know the politics of ObamaCare is bad when even President Obama is forced to concede that the rollout is a bloody mess. If only the new ‘administrative fix’ he announced on Thursday did more to help the consumers who are losing their coverage than it does to help Democrats protect their political future. In a major political reversal, the President announced at a surprise press conference that he is suspending the regulations that he now admits are the reason that millions of health insurance plans have been terminated. Only days ago he was saying these were ‘substandard plans’ sold by ‘bad-apple insurers.’ Some of us have been warning for years about the coming insurance market destruction, but Mr. Obama went ahead anyway even though millions of middle-class folks preferred their coverage to ObamaCare. Now these mass cancellations are proving to be unpopular, and Democrats are panicking, so Mr. Obama is offering a temporary stay of execution. He is instructing his health regulators to suspend eight complicated rules that all insurance plans had to meet and had caused the market implosion. There is less reprieve here than Mr. Obama claims. It's hard to un-cancel insurance. The rules Mr. Obama is repudiating were written in 2010, and insurers have been adapting to them for years. They will now have to scramble to revive the policies they can while throwing all of their actuarial assumptions out the window. The faux reprieve also lasts for only one year and applies only to anyone who was covered in 2013. The insurers are essentially being asked to agree to accept losses on behalf of a rump group of policy holders in a legacy business that would then turn into a pumpkin in 2015.”
The Los Angeles Times adds, “The move is a desperate attempt to fulfill a promise President Obama never should have made, and the legal authority for it is sketchy. What's more, it may not be possible at this point for insurers to revive policies they've already canceled. Worst of all, Obama merely punted to next year the fight over the law's insurance reforms, which he has done a remarkably poor job of explaining and selling.”
National Journal’s Ron Brownstein explainswhy Democrats who went all-in for Obamacare have reason to be nervous. “President Obama’s health care law is now compounding a political problem it was meant to solve: the generation-long loss of faith in government activism . . . . For decades, Democratic strategists have viewed universal health care as their best opportunity to reverse the doubt among many voters . . . that government programs can tangibly benefit their families. Now the catastrophic rollout of the health law threatens instead to reinforce those doubts.That outcome could threaten Democratic priorities for years. Even before its disastrous launch, the health care law faced anxiety about its goals. On the plan’s best days, polls found Americans split almost evenly on whether reform would benefit the country overall. But even then, nothing approaching a majority ever said the law would help their own families . . . . With its chaotic launch, the administration has now added derision over the law’s execution to suspicion about its motivation. . . . Donald Kettl, dean of the University of Maryland’s Public Policy School and an expert in public administration . . . . says no major federal initiative has failed so thoroughly upon its unveiling since the ballistic-missile program’s first years in the 1950s produced a succession of explosions and failures to launch. ‘The last time something blew up on the runway like this,’ Kettl says, ‘things were literally blowing up on the runway.’”
Meanwhile, stories of Obamacare’s problems and failures continue. The AP writes today, “Among the concerns surrounding the rollout of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul was that too few young, healthy people would sign up — a problem that could undermine the financial viability of the federal law. The insurance industry has increasing cause for concern as early enrollment reports suggest a trend that could cause insurance premiums and deductibles to rise sharply next year. Along with the paltry enrollment numbers released this week, officials in a handful of states said those who had managed to sign up were generally older people with medical problems.” And The Washington Post reports, “A senior official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid warned colleagues on July 16 he was worried the online enrollment system could ‘crash’ upon its Oct. 1 launch, according to new documents released Friday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.”
In an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell writes, “For nearly five years, Kentuckians heard President Obama repeat one very familiar phrase: ‘If you like your current health care plan, you can keep it.’ Kentuckians took the president at his word as he echoed this promise over and over again. Now that Obamacare is coming into effect, we’re learning that millions of people won’t be able to keep the plan they have – despite the president’s promise. Unfortunately, it’s not hard to find examples of Kentuckians who are being told, through no fault of their own, that the health insurance plan they have relied on and want to keep is being canceled, and many are finding that Obamacare’s alternatives are more costly. . . . Let’s face it – Obamacare’s failures aren’t restricted to just a website. The law is proving to be a calamity for millions of Americans who, through no fault of their own, are being forced to drop health insurance plans they like and purchase different ones with higher costs. It’s still not too late to act to stop the worst parts of this law.” Tags:ObamacareTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The below geopolitical analysis is very interesting and offers insight into the Saudis concern over Iran. The Saudis have therefore opted to prepare by expanding their influence over Egypt and have funded arms for Egypt. They have also are funding increased foreign mercenaries to support their efforts. Quoting the author, "Saudi Arabia does not want two hundred and fifty thousand foreign mercenaries even if they are Moslem mercenaries inside of the Kingdom. The Saudis need to base them where there are facilities and control over them. The only place that fills the qualifications is Egypt; and what is a more “innovative, unconventional solutions” to Egypt's economic strife?"
by Felix Imonti: General El-Sisi may have found the solution to Egypt's economic woes. It is called war.
During the weeks up to the coup, General El-Sisi had much to consider. With his access to the presidential palace and the trust of the Muslim Brotherhood, the general would have known the well-kept secret that Egypt was facing in a few short months a currency collapse and a famine that would very likely throw the country into a bloody revolution that his soldiers would be forced to quell.
Throughout the growing crisis, the Brotherhood offered no solid plan to revive the economy. Sixty billion dollars had been sent offshore for safety and nothing being done would lure any of it back. Qatar, Libya, and Turkey had contributed twelve billion dollars, but Egypt would require a billion dollars per month to remain solvent and there was no sign that would be forthcoming.
Something had to be done quickly and whatever was to be done would require the agreement of General El-Sisi. He was the Minister of Defense and the commander of the half million strong Egyptian military. He was the most powerful man in Egypt.
Regardless, a coup would not solve the economic stresses. Egypt needed a benefactor with a full purse and a willingness to spend. Only one country fitted that picture, Saudi Arabia; and the king has reason to favor the Egyptian general.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had watched Mubarak removed from office and replaced by Mohammed Morsi. He had seen the Muslim Brotherhood grow from a problem to a threat. The Brotherhood was not only active in Egypt. It was involved in Tunisia, competed with the forces supported by the Saudis in Syria, and had been seeking to overthrow the King of Jordan. The Saudi king had proposed that the Gulf Cooperation Council be expanded to include Jordan and Morocco in an alliance of the monarchies in an effort to blunt the spread of the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood.
One of General El-Sisi's many admirers might go so far as to say that he had been chosen by a Divine Hand to save Egypt. The general had been based at the Egyptian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and knew many of the leaders of the Kingdom who could provide the desperately needed funds that would make a coup possible. On the other hand, the Saudis had found the one man who could break the Muslim Brotherhood after which they would be free to focus on the destruction of their other enemy, Iran and the Shia.
There is nothing new in the objective. It is the continuation of a war that the Saudis have been pursuing for four decades that dates back to the reign of the Shah. Saudi Arabia had manipulated the oil price on several occasions in order to inflict economic damage upon the Iranians.
Beyond the economic arena, they have battled each other through proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and currently in Syria. In spite of all of those efforts, the Saudis are still confronting their traditional foe and seeing Iran a more dangerous rival than ever before with the Shia control of Iraq and through the growth of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's asymmetric warfare skills, and penetration by Al-Qud of the Shia communities throughout the Middle East.
Seven hundred billion dollars in foreign reserves gives the impression of an economic powerhouse, but the Saudi future is dire. A twenty-five percent unemployment rate among the youth and little prospect for improvement present a potential source of social unrest. After depending upon the strength of the United States for seventy years, their American protector is no longer a reliable ally. Looming in the not too distant future, new technological improvements are increase quantities of recoverable oil that will force down world prices, unless Saudi Arabia can restrict Middle Eastern supplies to compensate for the increased worldwide production
King Abdullah called for the beheading of the Iranian snake in the midst of the Arab Spring and heightened conflict with Iran. He would have liked to have seen the U.S. accomplish it before Iran developed nuclear weapons, but it did not happened and appears that it never will happen. If the kingdom is going to become the dominant power in the region that will give it control over the flow and cost of oil, it must do so before Iran acquires nuclear weapons and before the American shield is withdrawn. The current willingness by the Iranians to negotiate a settlement over the nuclear program is treated in Riyadh as diplomatic theatrics intended to deceive an eagerly to be deceived United States.
The Saudi outburst at the United Nations when the Kingdom refused to take its Security Council seat that it had struggled to acquire was a tactic and not a tantrum. The Saudis were sending the message that the unsolved problems that have been long festering in the region would have to be resolved. If the others would not act, then Saudi Arabia would deal with the issues without the aid of the retreating United States or the impotent UN. What they were saying was that they are being forced to do whatever they are going to do; and their actions would come in many forms.
At the end of October, the newly formed Saudi supported Army of Justice, Jaish Al-Adl killed fourteen Iranian border guards in the Province of Baluchistan. The organization declared that the attack was retaliation for Iranian involvement in Syria.
Baluchistan was merely a pinprick compared to the confrontation at the beginning of August between President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to the United States, Bandar Bin Sultan. The Saudi prince came with carrots and sticks to have the Russians drop their support of Bashar Al-Assad. According to the leaked news report, Washington was in full agreement with the Saudi offer.
What the prince presented was an agreement for Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to set production quotas and prices. Combined, they control forty-five percent of oil production.
The Saudis would not interfere with Russian gas sales to Europe and would guarantee Russia's presence in the Port of Tardus in Syria. How the Saudis could keep their promises was a question that President Putin must have been asking and not liking the answer.
The stick in the prince's bag was to unleash Chechen Terrorist that he claimed to control to disrupt the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Saudis threatened to escalate the conflict to the point that it would be too costly at home for Russia to bear, but the Russians were already bearing it. The Shia-Sunni conflict in the form of bombings and assassinations has come to the Dagestan and Chechnya regions several years ago.
In spite of the likelihood of violence at the Olympics, Putin shows no inclination to appease Prince Bandar. Instead, suspected potential women bombers are having saliva samples taken in order to identify their body parts and security measures are being intensified as the Sochi Olympics to be held in February.
Border raids in Baluchistan or terrorist attacks in Dagestan to disrupt the Olympics will create anxiety in Iran and Russia, but the actions will not force either to alter the strategy in Syria. In order to accomplish that, Saudi Arabia must put into operation tactics that will overwhelm the opposition. The first sign to achieve that was a statement on August 8, 2013 by the chair of the National Syrian Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba that Saudi Arabia was to form a national army outside of Syria.
All of this was announced more than two months before the United States agreed with Russia to a program of destroying Al-Assad's chemical weapons and before Presidents Obama and Rouhani were chatting on the telephone. Deputy Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz was selected to organize the national army. His plan is to build a force of forty to fifty thousand troops and is prepared to spend several billion dollars on the project.
The ultimate goal is the organizing of the Army of Mohammed. It is to merge numerous smaller units into an army of two hundred and fifty thousand to be ready by March of 2016, but there are problems with the plan. The Pakistani military that has been training smaller size units on bases in Jordan cannot provide the instructors for a quarter million size force; and Jordan cannot accommodate that many troops.
If Al-Assad is the target of the Army of Mohammed, the Saudis are calculating that it will take two more years and an army double that of Syria's to defeat the regime. If there is another enemy on the agenda, then we have to ask on which country are the bunker busting bombs that are included in a eleven billion dollar order placed recently with the United States to be dropped; and at what targets are the CCS-2 missiles with their nuclear warheads that the BBC says that Pakistan has supplied been aimed. Then, there are those quarter of a million troops in the Army of Muhammad to be sent somewhere.
The Saudis have no doubt who their enemy is. A recent attack by tank supported Houthi troops against a Wahhabi madrassa in the Yemen town of Damaj near the Saudi Arabian border is a clear reminder. So is a bombing in the Shia majority Kingdom of Bahrain that is a near province of Saudi Arabia. Of course, the Saudis are certain that there is an Iranian hand stirring the pot of trouble.
The Saudi see the Houthis as a dangerous threat on the southern border that could give the Iranians through a proxy a direct route into the Saudi oil fields that are the sole source of the national wealth. It is a good reason for the Saudis to worry, especially because a large percentage of the workers in those oil fields are Shia.
In 2009, the Houthis crossed into Saudi Arabia. It was mainly with Pakistani forces that they were driven back. During the first Iraqi War, while Saudi and other armies were focused upon the Iraqi forces in Kuwait, Pakistani troops guarded the southern border and other troops have been held at ready in Pakistan to come to protect the vital oil fields and installations.
The Saudis have been supporting Pakistan with generous grants for decades. Now, Pakistan is facing an unusual convergence of problems that it making it impossible for the Pakistanis to provide their customary military support for the Saudis.
At the end of November, the chief of army staff General ashfaq Parvez Kayani will retire. His successor has not been named. Whoever he is, he will have to deal with the consequences of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan. Only the most optimistic are expecting the days to follow to be peaceful and that violence is likely to spill over the borders where it will be necessary for the army to be waiting to confront it.
Saudi Arabia will be vulnerable without Pakistani support. The skirmish in Damaj and the bombing in Bahrain have to be taken as a forerunner of what will be coming on a greater scale.
Saudi Arabia needs a replacement for the Pakistanis; and Egypt is the only choice. Large cash grants to Pakistan over many years have cemented those bonds of mutual dependents. Saudi Arabia has been generous as well with Egypt through the decades of Mubarak's rule and with El-Sisi without receiving much in return. Now, both are in need and Egypt has debts to repay; and those debts are increasing by the billions.
Within a few days of the reduction of aid by the U.S. to Egypt, the Egyptians signed an agreement with Russia to purchase fifteen billion dollars in military equipment that includes MIG-29 fighters. By financing the purchases, the Saudis are demonstrating to the Egyptian how important they are in Saudi plans and are sending a message to Washington that the separation has begun.
The Egyptian Foreign Minister Nadil Fahmy said in an interview that Egyptian and Saudi Arabian security are bound together. “The Egyptian-Saudi relationship is one of identity. No matter how much we agree or disagree regarding part of this relationship, it's a relationship of identity. But the Egyptian-US relationship is one of interests, regardless of our work it is not a relationship of identity. Egyptian national security is directly linked to Saudi national security, and vice versa. Whether we agree or disagree, national security in the two countries is linked.”
Saudi Arabia has risen to the forefront in Egypt's dealings with other nations and recognition of their dependence upon Saudi largess was reflected by the interim president of Egypt, Adly Mansour making his first state visit to Saudi Arabia . King Abdullah made it clear where the kingdom stands if Egypt is threatened. “Standing against any attempts to touch Egypt's internal affairs, particularly by the terrorists.” “Terrorist” is the term used to describe the Muslim Brotherhood.
While the Egyptians were celebrating the generosity of their benefactors, there was a not so subtle warning that a subsidized lunch is not a free lunch. On Oct. 27, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the deputy prime minister of the UAE and the minister of presidential affairs, said, “Arab support for Egypt will not last long, and Egypt must think about innovative, unconventional solutions.”
This warning came in the face of a ten percent inflation rate and a thirteen percent budget deficit. Heavy borrowing just to maintain spending without investing in the economy has pushed the national debt to eighty-nine percent of the GDP with an economic growth rate of a mere two percent. At least six percent is needed to absorb the increase in the labor force .
The violence and the political instability have blocked any investment in the economy. What Egypt requires is a powerful economic stimulus. The formation of the Army of Muhammad might be just what the economic doctor has ordered. Supplying, training, and commanding an army of a quarter of a million could see a vast infusion of capital into the Egyptian economy.
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: When you consider that a bunch of global warming propagandists, the 19th Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions has been meeting in Warsaw this month are still claiming that we are in the midst of global warming, you have a demonstration of how great a hoax has been perpetrating on the peoples of the world. These people and the scientists who supplied the falsified and inaccurate climate models to support the global warming claims have committed a criminal fraud.
Bit by bit, the truth in the form of increasingly cold weather is causing people to wonder whether they are being duped. The media has either buried the stories of extraordinary cold events or continues to tip-toe around the truth.
An example is a recent Wall Street Journal article by Robert Lee Hotz,“Strange Doings on the Sun”, Hotz reported that “Researchers are puzzled. They can’t tell if the lull is temporary or the onset of a decades-long decline, which might ease global warming a bit by altering the sun’s brightness or the wavelengths of its light.”
After describing the fact that the Sun has entered a period of reduced sunspot activity, always a precursor to a cooling cycle and even an ice age, Dr. David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, is quoted as saying “It may give us a brief respite from global warming, but it is not going to stop it.”
Plainly said, you cannot trust what government scientists have to say about global warming. The government’s policy since the late 1980s has been that global warming is real and poses a great threat to the Earth. What Dr. Hathaway and other “warmists” are desperately trying to ignore is the fact that the Earth entered a natural and predictable cooling cycle around 1997 or 1998. It has been cooling ever since!
In 1997, Robert W. Felix authored the definitive book on the coming ice age in his book, “Not by Fire, but by Ice.” It is still widely available. His website, IceAgeNow.info provides updated information on the many weather events around the world that demonstrate an ice age—whether it is a mini-ice age or a full-scale one—is occurring. Felix says that a major Ice Age, when it begins, will come on very swiftly.
One post on Felix’s website is about Victor Emanuel Velasco Herrera, a geophysicist at the University of Mexico, who predicts that the “Earth will enter a ‘Little Ice Age’ which will last from 60 to 80 years and may be caused by the decrease in solar activity.” You don’t have to be a geophysicist to figure out that less solar activity adds up to a colder Earth.
2014 is the year many scientists believe an ice age, “mini” or full-scale will begin. Herrera hedged his prediction saying that “with the mass production of current carbon dioxide (CO2) it is unlikely that we will see a major ice age like the one experienced 12,000 years ago.” Carbon Dioxide plays no role in warming the Earth. It is a very minor element of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The implications of an ice age, no matter how long or short, is its impact on the growing of crops to feed everyone. Dr. Tim Patterson of Canada’s Carleton University’s Department of Earth Sciences, in a May 18, 2007 article in the Calgary Times, wrote that satellite data “shows that by the year 2020 the next solar cycle is going to be solar cycle 25 — the weakest one since the Little Ice Age (that started in the 13th century and ended around 1860)…should be a great strategic concern in Canada because nobody is farming north of us. In other words, Canada — the great breadbasket of the world — might not be able to grow grains in much of the prairies.” This prediction applies as well, of course, to the U.S. production of grains.
Other scientists have been sounding the alarm, predicting dramatic cooling to begin in the current decade. Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a Fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, has noted that “Earth has passed the peak of its warmer period and a fairly cold spell will set in quite soon, by 2012, real cold will come when solar activity reaches its minimum, by 2041, and will last for 50-60 years or even longer.” While the years cited by scientists may differ, they are in agreement that we are looking at decades of cold.
In the years since the late 1980s when “global warming” was unleashed on the world as the greatest hoax of the modern era, billions have come to believe the Earth was threatened by greater warming cause by man-made “greenhouse gases” resulting from industrial and all other uses of fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. While carbon dioxide has, indeed, increased in the atmosphere, the truth is that the Earth has entered a cooling cycle and that it is on the cusp of very cold weather for decades. We could even cross over into a full-fledged Ice Age because one is overdue at this point in time.
You cannot depend on what the mass media tells you. They are hardwired to continue the global warming hoax. You can, however, educate yourself with books such as Robert Felix’s. You can use Google to find out more about ice ages. You can and should prepare yourself for changes in the Earth’s climate that will have vast impacts on the global economy and on the ability to grow enough crops to feed the world’s population.
------------------ Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, "Warning Signs"disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service. Tags:Robert Felix, Not just Winter, New Ice Age, global cooling, Alan Caruba, Warning SignsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gretchen Hamel, Public Notice: Every family has one. That irresponsible relative, who just can’t seem to get anything right. Yeah, Washington is exactly like that relative.
That’s what you’ll see in our new web series, “Federal Matters,” which follows a family and their irresponsible relative, Uncle Beltway, who, like Washington, is put in charge of certain things that he’s ill-equipped to handle.
In the pilot episode, Uncle Beltway lives up to his name as he turns a simple babysitting job into a costly problem for the rest of the family.
Watch the video and find out what happens when wasteful spending leaves common sense behind!
Tags:Uncle Beltway, Government Spending, Bankrupting America, SitcomTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
'Salvation is from the Jews' — Even In A Worldly Sense — Stopping Iran
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, Contributing Authors: Christians are certainly familiar with Jesus’ words to the woman at the well. “Salvation is from the Jews,” he tells her in John 4:22. And, this has always stood as a stumbling block to anti-Semitism in the Church. It is hard to imagine how one can be a true Christian and be an anti-Semite, too.
But this wonderful phrase is also true in a worldly sense — and especially so in the nuclear age. In August 1939, Albert Einstein’s letter warning President Roosevelt of Nazi capabilities in atomic weapons research was hand-carried to the White House. Having fled Hitler Germany for Princeton, Einstein was the world’s most celebrated scientist and a leading member of the Jewish community. Calmly, FDR turned to his military aide, Gen. Edwin (“Pa”) Watson and said: “Pa, this requires action.” With those four words, Roosevelt commenced the greatest crash weapons program in history. Knowing that the U.S. was leading in this vital research area gave confidence to our diplomacy and our successful waging of the Second World War.
Admiral Hyman Rickover graduated from the Naval Academy and faced anti-Semitism throughout his career. Still, he pressed on to create the nuclear Navy. By his bulldog determination, Rickover gave America the means to withstand a Soviet nuclear first strike and still wipe out that evil empire. Knowing that Rickover’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) could deliver a knockout blow — even if the continental U.S. had been destroyed--provided the balance in what Churchill called the balance of terror.
Now, the world is distracted and distressed. Financial meltdowns, ethnic conflicts, and a toxic popular culture combine to unfocus our gaze. Iran is proceeding — boldly, defiantly — toward nuclear weapons. The Obama administration clearly has no idea how to prevent this.
Mr. Obama assures Israelis if they like their country they can keep it. But his word is not to be relied upon.
Can it be that salvation — at least in this temporal sense — is once more to come from the Jews? Nothing can be clearer than that if the world must rely on Barack Obama to stop the Iranians, they will not be stopped.
Only Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown the courage, the careful focus, the intelligent analysis required to see the situation clearly. We are forever being told that the Israelis depend on us. In truth, it is the other way around. We must now depend on them.
If the Israelis do not act, then Iran will get the bomb. The people who adopted suicide bombing from the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of World War II cannot be deterred by threats to retaliate against them. They, too, are a suicide cult. They, too, can be stopped only by force.
Israel must decide the time and the means. That's why there is a Jewish State.
It is also worth noting that Laurent Fabius, the Foreign Minister of France, has called the fruitless negotiations in Geneva “a sucker’s deal.” We have good indication that if this French socialist had not objected, Sec. John Kerry might even now have been trumpeting his bad deal, his very bad deal. After all, why should he be the only Democratic nominee of late to be denied his Nobel Peace Prize?
(We can all stand ready for Bill Clinton to troop off to Oslo to get his Peace Prize for the Clinton Global Initiative.)
This is not the first time John Kerry has been bested by a French socialist. In the 1980s, young Kerry was all-out for the Nuclear Freeze. But France’s socialist President Francois Mitterrand saw through this KGB ruse and lined up with the steadfast President Ronald Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Had the world followed John Kerry’s lead then, we might still have a Berlin Wall, an East & West Germany, a splintered NATO, and a Russian power rising up in the Kremlin. Only the revived Russian power has come about. But it is still early in this debacle of a second term.
For these reasons, we need to look to Jerusalem for our security. Once again, the peace of Jerusalem is linked to the fate of the world. This time, let us pray the leaders of the Jewish state do their duty without fear, without interference, and without deference to a muddled leadership in the White House.
------------------------- Ken Blackwell was a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Ken Blackwell, Bob Morrison, salvation, Jews, Albert Einstein, Admiral Hyman Rickover, Israel, Iran, nuclear weapons, history, the futureTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): “If you got a doctor now, you got a medical professional you want, you get to keep that. If you have an insurance program or a health care policy you want of ideas, make sure you keep it. That you can keep who you want.” (Sen. Begich, Townhall Event, 7/27/09)
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC): ‘People who have insurance they're happy with can keep it’ “We need to support the private insurance industry so that people who have insurance they're happy with can keep it while also providing a backstop option for people without access to affordable coverage.” (“Republicans Vent As Other Compromise Plans Get Aired,” National Journal’s Congress Daily, 6/18/09)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “…if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.8642, 8/3/09)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (R-IL): “…if you like your current health insurance plan, you will be able to keep it, plain and simple, straightforward.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.6401, 6/10/09)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “If you like your insurance, you keep it.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Bill Mark-Up, 9/24/09)
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): “Again, if you like what you have, you will be able to keep it. Let me say this again: If you like what you have, when our legislation is passed and signed by the President, you will be able to keep it.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.6400, 6/10/09)
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): “If you like what you have, you can keep it. That is critically important.” (Sen. Baucus, Congressional Record, S.7676, 9/29/10)
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA): “…if you like a plan, you get to keep it, and you can grandfather it in.” (Sen. Harkin, Congressional Record, S.7675-6, 9/29/10)
THEN-REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI): “Under the bill, if you like the insurance you have now, you may keep it and it will improve.” (Rep. Baldwin, Press Release, 3/18/10)
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): “…if you have coverage and you like it, you can keep it. If you have your doctor, and you like him or her, you should be able to keep them as well. We will not take that choice away from you.” (Sen. Bennet, Press Release, 6/11/09)
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): “…people will be able to keep the health care coverage they need and they want.” (Sen. Boxer, Press Release, 2/8/11)
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): “Our bill says if you have health insurance and you like it, you can keep it…” (Sen. Brown, Congressional Record, S.12612, 12/7/09)
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD): “For the people of Maryland, this bill will provide a rational way in which they can maintain their existing coverage…” (Sen. Cardin, Congressional Record, S.13798, 12/23/09)
SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): “If you like what you have, you like the plan you have, you can keep it. It is not going to change.” (Sen. Casey, Congressional Record, S.8070, 7/24/09)
SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): “…if you like the insurance you now have, keep the insurance you have.” (CNN’s “Newsroom,” 10/22/09)
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): “If you like what you have, you get to keep it” ((“Health Care Plan Would Help N.J., Menendez Says,” The Record, 6/19/09)
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): “…ensuring that those who like their insurance get to keep it” “The HELP Committee bill sets forward a historic plan that will, for the first time in American history, give every American access to affordable health coverage, reduce costs, and increase choice, while ensuring that those who like their insurance get to keep it.” (Sen. Merkley, Press Release, 7/15/09)
SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-MD): “It means that if you like the insurance you have now, you can keep it.” (Sen. Mikulski, Press Release, 12/24/09)
SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-WV): “I want people to know, the President's promise that if you like the coverage you have today you can keep it is a pledge we intend to keep.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Hearing, 9/23/09)
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): “…people in my state, 60 percent of whom have insurance, are going to be able to keep it. And Mr. Chairman, I appreciate that. That's a strong commitment. It's clear in the bill…” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Bill Mark-Up, 9/24/09)
SEN. TOM UDALL (D-NM): “Some worried reform would alter their current coverage. It won't. If you like your current plan, you can keep it.” (“What I Learned: About Health Care Reform This Summer, By Your Lawmakers In Congress,” Albuquerque Journal, 9/8/09)
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): “…if you like the plan you have, you get to keep it. You are not forced out of anything.” (Sen. Whitehouse, Congressional Record, S.8668, 8/3/09) Tags:excuses, democrats, quotes, editorial cartoon William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 14, 2013
President Obama held a press conference today that was billed as announcing a “fix” for Americans who have lost their insurance because of Obamacare, despite the president’s repeated explicit promises of, “If you like your current plan, you will be able to keep it.” In fact the President's pandering speech may send shock waves through the insurance companies as the Government is not going to bear any of the costs of this mix-up. Some quotes from the President's speech:
“Insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014.”
“Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll,”
“If you received one of these (cancellation) letters, I’d encourage you to look at the marketplace, even if the website isn’t working as smoothly as it should be.”
“I was not informed directly that the website was not working correctly.”
Garth Kant at World News Daily responded to these statements, "But there’s a catch the president did not address: Insurance companies would have to be willing to offer those plans again. And there’s no guarantee the prices would remain the same." Kant also noted, "Obama is now ordering insurance companies to inform customers about what provisions will be required once this year-long grace period has expired. The Department of Health and Human Services will notify insurance companies and state insurance commissioners they have permission to let people who have those “substandard” policies keep them through 2014. And, the administration will not enforce the penalty on individuals for not having eligible health-insurance plans."
If is clear that President Obama is seeking buy time until after the election to provide endangered Democrats in the 2014 election. The assessment penalties will not go accessed until eight weeks after the 2014 elections. And surprise at the heart retroactive heart aches.
Regarding the President’s belated response to the millions who’ve lost their health plans as a result of Obamacare, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued the following statement: "President Obama’s announcement doesn't even come close to fixing the problems that so many Americans are facing right now as a result of cancelled health care plans and skyrocketing premiums. But, it does represent the clearest acknowledgment yet that his oft-repeated pledge ‘if you like your plan, you can keep it’ was false all along. What makes this admission even worse is the fact that it was prompted not by the heartbreaking stories of millions of Americans, but by the private pleadings of a handful of endangered Democrats. Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the fact Obamacare is broken beyond repair. The only ‘fix’ is full repeal followed by step-by-step, patient-centered reforms that drive down costs and that Americans actually want."
Noting that "Americans Need Real, Not Political Solution to Obamacare," House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement to the president announced “administrative” changes to Obamacare: "After finally acknowledging he repeatedly misled the American people to sell his health care law, the president is asking Americans to trust him again. The President has absolutely no credibility on his promise. True to form, it appears this is little more than a political response designed to shift blame rather than solve the problem. This problem cannot be papered over by another ream of Washington regulations. Americans losing their coverage because of the president’s health care law need clear, unambiguous legislation that guarantees the plan they have and like will still be allowed. That’s why the House will be voting on the Keep Your Health Plan Act tomorrow, and the president should support it."
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. Following 2 hours of morning business, the Senate resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 3204, a bill expanding FDA oversight of compounding pharmacies. The Senate then agreed to the motion to proceed to H.R. 3204 by voice vote and began consideration of the bill.
Shortly before noon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filled the amendment tree on H.R. 3204 (cutting off any amendments) and filed cloture on the bill (to cut off debate). Reid also filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 1197, the Defense Authorization bill.
Reid then moved to file cloture on a third left-wing nominee to the DC Circuit Court of appeals, Robert Wilkins. Senate Democrats are trying to push three nominees onto the Court in an explicit attempt to “switch the majority” so it can rubberstamp the president’s executive branch excesses. Senate Republicans have blocked the last two nominees, Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard.
The House convened today at 10 AM. They will consider the following bills:
The Senate revision to HB 3080. the Water Resources Reform Act. The House is expected to object to the Senate's revisions and to vote to go to conference with the Senate on this bill. H.R. 2655 — "To amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve attorney accountability, and for other purposes."
Yesterday the Senate passed H.R. 982 (221-199) — "To amend title 11 of the United States Code to require the public disclosure by trusts established under section 524(g) of such title, of quarterly reports that contain detailed information regarding the receipt and disposition of claims for injuries based on exposure to asbestos; and for other purposes." Three amendments by democrats seeking to limit access to information on the processing of claims and seeking to remove the required quarterly filing by the trusts handling of the claims were defeated.
More reactions to the President's "toe tapping" speech:
But outside of Washington, ordinary Americans are being hurt by this law that Democrats wrote and the president signed. As Politico points out today, “There are nearly 5 million people who never considered logging on to the Obamacare website, but were blindslided by the cancellation notices they kept hearing the president say they didn’t have to worry about. These aren’t the people fighting it out in Washington, and most of them, at least for now, don’t seem interested in the president’s assurances that this will mean they’ll end up with better coverage, or the way the president’s tried to explain what happened. They’re looking at being uninsured unless they can navigate changes they‘d been told didn’t apply to them.”
Senate Republicans have been asking constituents for their stories about how Obamacare is affecting them and went to the Senate floor one after another this morning to share those stories. The Hill writes, “Thirty-four of the 45 Senate Republicans delivered a one-minute speech, reading personal stories from constituents about how ObamaCare is harming individuals, families and small businesses. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republicans were trying to put a ‘human face’ on the failures of the healthcare law. ‘These are real Americans learning ObamaCare isn’t more affordable and isn’t more accessible,’ Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said. Republicans criticized the law for raising premium prices and reducing workers’ hours because of mandates under the law. But the main criticism was that President Obama hasn’t kept his promise that if someone likes their current healthcare plan they can keep it. ‘“If you like your healthcare plan you can keep it,”’ Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said. ‘It’s a nice sound bite but it isn’t true.’ Republicans called for a full repeal of the law. ‘Repealing ObamaCare’s poorly crafted and misguided mandates and replacing the law … is the best path forward,’ Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said.”
In a hard-hitting editorial today, the USA Today editors expressed some of the frustration Americans are feeling: “[W]hen the White House isn't cluelessly advising people whose health insurance policies are being canceled to go shop at its barely functional website, it's acting as if there's plenty of time for people to sign up because the open enrollment period doesn't end until March 31. Tell that to millions of would-be enrollees who don't have the luxury of waiting that long because their insurance expires at the end of this year. Administration troubleshooter Jeffrey Zients promised the website would be working smoothly for most users by the end of this month. Even if the exchanges begin to work well by then -- a big if -- that will leave people whose insurance policies run out at the end of the year little time to sign up for insurance that kicks in on New Year's Day. The deadline for signing up for insurance that begins Jan. 1 is Dec. 15.” That’s “frightening,” the editors lament, because “the White House has next to no credibility left when it comes to promises about its website.”
Americans’ displeasure is showing up loud and clear in the polls. According to Gallup, “Americans' views of the 2010 healthcare law have worsened in recent weeks, with 40% approving and 55% disapproving of it. For most of the past year, Americans have been divided on the law, usually tilting slightly toward disapproval. The now 15-percentage-point gap between disapproval and approval is the largest Gallup has measured in the past year. . . . Many insured Americans are now being dropped from their health plans, perhaps because the plans do not meet the minimum requirements for coverage mandated by the healthcare law. . . . The timing of this drop in approval of the law suggests it may be linked to the controversy over the millions of Americans losing their current health insurance coverage. In fact, in an open-ended question probing Americans' reasons for approving or disapproving of the law, 11% of those who disapprove specifically mention losing their insurance. Another 7% say the president lied about details of the law.”
Leader McConnell pretty well summed up the situation yesterday, “One of the favorite pastimes of politicians in Washington is to talk about how frustrated the American people are with politicians in Washington. After the past few weeks, it’s easy to see why. I’m talking about the President’s promise — repeated dozens of times — that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. And the sobering realization by millions of Americans that it just wasn’t true. Some of the top fact-checkers in the country have used terms like ‘Pants on Fire’ and ‘False’ and ‘Four Pinocchios’ to describe the claim that, under Obamacare, folks would be able to keep their plans. In a matter of weeks, it’s gone from being one of the law’s top selling points to a national punch line. And if millions of people weren't so frustrated and upset by it, it might be funny. But it’s not the least bit funny. . . . And let’s be very clear about something: these insurance cancellations are no accident. It’s the way the law was designed. Remember: in order for Obamacare to work, millions of Americans had to lose the coverage they’d purchased on their own, so the government could dump them into the Obamacare exchanges. That way, the government could then get them to pay more to subsidize coverage for everybody else. . . . That’s why, in 2010, every Democrat who was in the Senate voted against a Republican proposal designed to hold the President to his word. The fact is, the President’s health care law was designed to capture millions of middle-class Americans, jack up their premiums, and use the extra cash to keep Obamacare afloat. This isn't some unforeseen consequence of the law…it is the law. It’s working just like they designed it. Just like what they voted for. So it’s hard to take seriously the faux outrage we've seen of late from some - Democrat ...” Tags:democrats, President Obama, Obama tap dances, Obamacare, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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