An explanation: What the Supreme Court will not do to ObamaCare
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling in King v. Burwell soon. At issue in the case is whether or not the Affordable Care Act, better known as "ObamaCare," entitles people in states which have not established their own "exchanges" to federally subsidized health coverage.
Writing for the Associated Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar worries that the court's ruling "could wipe out health insurance for millions of people."
Let me lay that fear to rest. No such outcome is possible, for the simple reason that the health plans addressed by ObamaCare are not insurance.
In fact, one effect of ObamaCare, as explained by Warren C. Gibson at the Foundation for Economic Education, was to outlaw health insurance entirely.
Insurance is a "hedged" bet. When you buy insurance – on your car, your home, your life or your health – you place a small bet (your monthly premium) that something really bad (a wreck, a fire, death or sickness) will happen. The insurance company places a large bet (the prospective payout on a claim) that no, that really bad thing will not happen.
You don't want to win that bet. You pay $50 a month for car insurance so that IF you win your bet by having a wreck, you're off the hook for a lot more than $50. The insurance company makes its money by carefully setting the odds such that it takes in more in small wins than it pays out in big losses.
ObamaCare is not a hedged bet against catastrophe. It's a national system of mandatory pre-paid health care. You make a monthly payment in return for which you expect your every health need to be provided for.
We've been moving away from real insurance and toward pre-paid care since the early 1970s with Health Maintenance Organizations and Preferred Provider Organizations. ObamaCare brought three important new elements in:
First, you no longer have a choice. You have to subscribe to a pre-paid health service whether you want to or not. "Insurance" companies love that part. ObamaCare is a gigantic corporate welfare program.
Second, if you are a low-income American and your state has an exchange, you get a government subsidy to help cover your subscription payment (the Supreme Court is set to decide whether or not this also applies to federal exchanges in states that didn't set up their own). The "insurance" companies love that, too (more money for them!).
Third, the "insurance" companies can't turn anyone down. With real insurance, a pre-existing condition would be the equivalent of betting at blackjack after seeing the dealer's hand. They don't like that part nearly as much. It raises their costs. Which, in turn, raises yours.
If the Court rules against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, millions of Americans will stop receiving health care subsidies. But not a single American will lose "insurance," because that's not what we're getting in the first place.
What are we getting? Two things: Screwed and robbed. Or: Government as usual.
Thomas L. Knapp
Director and Senior News Analyst
William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
Are you Nasrani?
Please Take a Stand for Persecuted Christians In America . . . and Everywhere!
Ask for your Nasrani Pin as FRC's thank you.
When people ask me what we need today, I tell them we need people who will stand.
What do I mean by that?
Christians in America—and our brothers and sisters overseas—are in a crisis of religious freedom today that is a divine opportunity to shine for Jesus Christ . . . IF we stand.
If we don't flinch. If we have the courage to face shame, threats and suffering.
Christians overseas are our example. They are being crucified. They are being beheaded. They are being tortured. And yet they refuse to renounce Jesus Christ.
Watching their suffering, we know that we can stand against whatever form of persecution we face. And . . . we know that we must also stand for these exemplary believers overseas.
And that's why I want to send you a Nasrani Pin as my thank you for supporting FRC as we influence the halls of power to advance faith, families and freedom.
The Nasrani Pin displays the Arabic letter "N"—which stand for Nazarene.
When I testified before U.S. Senators about religious persecution, I wore it.
When ISIS terrorists enter a town they paint this symbol on the homes of Christians demanding that they renounce Christ and convert to Islam . . . or pay a devastating religious tax . . . or be brutally executed.
Why do American Christians need to wear the "N"? Because we need to stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters and draw courage from their example. We need to stand together.
We—the followers of Jesus Christ—are all marked with the "N".
So we must stand with each other, and for each other.
The "persecuted church" is no longer confined overseas. It's here.
In America, fellow Christians are being fired, threatened, shamed, financially depleted, labeled as "haters," forced out of growing categories of career fields and more.
We need to stand against this momentum—and stop it.
FRC is working in Congress, state legislatures, the national media and the grassroots to overcome the Left's hatred with the best research, facts and logic.
And recently we've had the opportunity to testify for persecuted Christians overseas before a U.S. Senate subcommittee and the United Nations.
That's why I and thousands of others are self-identifying as Nasrani.
So please let me send you a Nasrani Pin as my thank you for your generous gift to advance faith, family and freedom through FRC's mission. May God bless you as you stand.
Standing (Ephesians 6:13),
President, Family Research Council
P.S. Thank you for seeing the connection between the growing persecution against Christians overseas and here at home in America. Help us all stand together with, and for, all the persecuted followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Family Research Council: 801 G Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001.
Ban antibiotics in animal agriculture
President Obama recently directed federal agencies to serve antibiotic-free meat and poultry in government cafeterias. The FDA will require animal producers to obtain authorization from a licensed veterinarian to use drugs to treat a specific disease, rather than just to promote rapid growth, as is current practice. As much as 80% of all U.S. antibiotics are used in animal agriculture (1).
The moves come amid growing concern about the link between routine antibiotic use in animal agriculture and human infections by bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics because of their excessive use. The CDC estimates that antibiotic resistance causes 2 million illnesses per year in the U.S. and 23,000 deaths. It also adds $20 billion per year in health care costs and $35 billion in lost productivity (2). And we thought that animal products were just linked to heart disease, cancer, and stroke…
While government agencies reduce antibiotics in animal products, the rest of us can do better immediately with wholesome vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and a rich variety of plant-based meats, cheeses, milks, and ice creams available in every supermarket. These foods contain all the nutrients we require, without the deadly pathogens, antibiotics, carcinogens, cholesterol, and saturated fats.
Carefree’s Future Matters
Friends of Carefree, there were two meetings of the Town Council on June 2. The first was a Special Meeting to adopt the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, which was followed by the usual monthly meeting.
Special Town Council Meeting, June 2,, 2015, 4:45 p.m.
All present, except Councilman Farrar who was delayed by traffic from Phoenix.
Item 1, Fiscal Year 2016 Budget: The $7,117,680 Budget was formally adopted by unanimous vote 6 – 0. It becomes effective July 1, 2015.
Item 2, Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at approximately 4:50 p.m.
Town Council Meeting, June 2,, 2015, 5 p.m.
All present, except Councilman Farrar who was delayed by traffic from Phoenix.
Items 1 – 6, Consent Agenda: All 6 items were related to routine town business (meeting minutes, bills, financial reports, and event permits); Councilwoman Price asked that #5 be held for questions. Items 1 – 4 and 6 were approved 6 – 0.
Item 5, Arizona Regional Porsche Club of America Car Show, October 31, 2015: Councilwoman Price asked the Club representative about the type of vehicles that would participate in the event. The response was that 75 to 100 vehicles were expected to participate comprised of any year, any model. After discussion, the permit was approved 6 – 0.
Item 7, Call to the Public: No requested to speak.
Item 8, Current Events: None noted.
Item 9: Moratorium on permits required for Open House Signs: The Planning & Zoning Commission had reviewed this issue, heard public comment, and then recommended implementing a moratorium from July 1, 2015 through April 30. Council discussed the recommendation, heard from two realtors, and then decided to approve a moratorium, effective from 6/3/2015 through April 2016. Mayor Peterson noted that the town should support the realtors and Vice Mayor Crane added that the realtors should play by the rules. Approval was 7 – 0.
Item 10: Town Center Revitalization Master Plan: This was the final presentation after essentially a year-long study by The Baker Group. The presentation was a long one, and basically reiterated findings and recommendations discussed in prior public meetings. Council questions and discussion ensued. Councilman Farrar referenced a ‘White Paper’ which the Baker Group prepared for the town (not available to the public at the time of the meeting). He questioned the number and location of gateways (monuments and/or signs) which were being suggested. There seems to be some question or debate relating to how many are needed now, versus over a period of years as other aspects of the revitalization plan are implemented and become a reality.
[Editorial comment – it seems that a single gateway/monument on each of our two main arterial routes would be sufficient to alert unfamiliar visitors that they ‘had arrived in Carefree’. Other more modest gateways or directional signs could be added within the core over time as features or new attractions dictate. To do otherwise now would add clutter and can become overwhelming, especially if they are redundant or are of questionable value. I believe there is a distinct line between help and eyesores. We have already noted there are a total of 22 signs right now, all of which advise that you are in Carefree. Will lots of additional Gateway signs result in boosting Sales Tax revenue or bring in new tenants? We encourage our readers to review the Baker study presentation which recommends substantial financial investments by the town, both near and long term. The bulk of those funds will draw down from town reserves. A copy of the final Baker study presentation is available on the town website, via the following link.
Final Baker Study Presentation, June 2, 2015
– end of editorial comment]
Council approved, 7 -0 to enter the information into public record.
Item 11, Professional Services Contract with Mr. Steven Betts: In order facilitate exploration of P3 (Public / Private Partnership) opportunities in Carefree the council was asked to consider a 1 year contract for Mr. Betts, an extremely successful and noted expert in such matters. Mr. Betts has an exceptionally deep resume and is highly regarded by many other experts in this field. The contract calls for a fee of $5,000 per month, considered to be very favorable for Carefree, and is covered in the new budget. Council approved authorizing the mayor to enter a 1 year contract, 7 – 0.
Item 12, LED Light Conversion: The town staff sought approval for a plan to convert all existing faux gas lamps in the town center to LED technology. The cost was cited as $500 per fixture (46 mentioned) for a total of $19,000 overall. [I may have missed something since 46 x 500 = 23,000] The question of break-even on that investment was raised but no definitive information was available. A local business, Let The Be Light, will be awarded the contract. The Plan was approved, 7 – 0.
Items 13, Restoration/Repair of the Sun Dial Reflective Pool: At the time the reflective pool fell into disrepair, it was considered too costly to repair and maintain. It was subsequently drained and filled with landscaping rocks. With new technologies now available, and with the desire to add interest in the core environment, it was proposed to enter a contact with another local business, EcoBlue, to replace pipes and resurface the pool with new coatings and materials to reduce ongoing maintenance. The cost would be approximately $40,000; including other water features, which also need repair, will add another $14,500. The work can be completed by July. The project was approved, 7 – 0.
Item 14, Median Upkeep / Landscaping Contract: The town budgeted approximately $60K for a maintenance contract with Desert Foothills Landscaping for median upkeep in upcoming Fiscal Year. The contract provides a substantial discount for what is already known to be high quality work. Council approved awarding the contract, 7 – 0.
Item 15, Town Council Updates – Areas of Focus:
Administrative: – Mayor Peterson reported that a committee has been formed to update the Town Code and late June is the expected start date to begin work. A Long Range Financial Plan committee has already begun work on a new LRFP that will be an evolving document as opposed to a static plan. It will target a 5 year future window and will be updated as significant events dictate. The target date for completion is August.
Town Center Improvement – Several projects were outlined by Councilwoman Price. A Splash Pad, with a Scorpion feature is in planning; discussions are underway with Southwest Gas regarding two fireplaces, Glenn Miller to obtain cost data; the Gateway project is beginning, with architect plans expected late June and surveys to be done in July; work on new town logos and website is in the works and a Public Arts program is under consideration.
Liberty/Black Mtn Sewer (L/BMS) - L/BMS had agreed to begin working on a new rate case shortly. Optimistic estimates are 12 – 14 months but it could take a full 2 years. Our negotiating group offered several ideas to address the current rate constraints, but unfortunately no concessions were obtained.
Council Chambers: Council members Miller and Price have been responsible for negotiating a potential lease extension on the current space, which could include sub-leasing unused space formerly occupied by the Town and Court. The Council planned to enter Executive Session at the end of the public meeting to discuss contract issues.
Land Use / Planning - nothing to report at present.
Special Planning Areas – Councilman Farrar reported that he will be traveling to Sonora Mexico as part of a Trade Group Delegation to promote Arizona/Sonora business with that thriving economic area of Mexico. He also reported on a meeting with the Carefree Resort. There are plans underway to institute a Shuttle Bus service with Scottsdale in a co-marketing arrangement.
Item 16, Adjournment: The council voted to enter Executive Session prior to adjournment. The Public meeting essentially ended at approximately 7 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Jim Van Allen and John Traynor
Correct the Record: Pardon William Lloyd Garrison!
Should the governor of Maryland pardon 19th century abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison? Yes, he should. Some background:
In 1830, Garrison co-edited a newspaper in Baltimore, MD that among, other things, called for the abolition of slavery. He accused a man named Francis Todd of slave trading. There is little doubt the charge was accurate, according to the late Henry Mayer's magnum opus on the abolitionist editor, All On Fire, but Garrison was convicted of malicious libel. He was fined $50 plus court costs; since he could not pay the fine, he was jailed for what would have been six months. After 49 days in Baltimore's jail, Arthur Tappan of New York, who later became a abolitionist himself, paid the fine. Garrison was released on June 1, 1830.
This experience crystallized Garrison's determination to fight slavery through the press and agitation. Using a tiny newspaper, The Liberator, and enormous inspirational and organizational skills, Garrison raised abolition to prominence on the national stage, often at risk to his own personal safety -- he was near nearly lynched by a Boston mob in 1835.
Convinced that Garrison deserved a posthumous pardon both by way of clearing his name and removing a stain from the great state of Maryland's honor, I wrote to Maryland Secretary of State John P. McDonough in 2013 to find out if such a pardon has ever been issued. McDonough never replied, so I have to assume the answer is "no."
I also emailed then-governor Martin O'Malley for his thoughts on the matter. Once again, no reply.
Now a former governor, O'Malley recently announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. While his state's miscarriage of justice versus William Lloyd Garrison may not rise to the level of major issue in a national campaign, it seems to me that O'Malley should have corrected a great historical wrong when he could have done so at no personal or political cost to himself.
Abolitionism was a powerful moral movement that all Americans can take historic pride in; Garrison was its acknowledged leader.
Leveraging the founding ideals of the nation and the moral suasion of biblical injunctions, Garrison spurred our consciences and called us back to our deepest values.
Like his predecessors, O'Malley neglected to correct the historical record with a well-deserved pardon. I hope you will join me in asking Maryland's new governor, Larry Hogan, to rectify that oversight.
Elwood Earl "Sandy" Sanders, Jr.
Blog: Virginia Right
House defunds Internet giveaway—again
"I think they see now that this is actually a good thing for the Internet."
That was Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) CEO Fadi Chehade, declaring to Reuters that congressional opposition to an Obama administration plan to transfer key Internet names and numbers authorities from the Department of Commerce was fading.
Chehade added, "I am optimistic and I believe that all interests are now aligned... Everybody sees that this makes sense."
There is only one problem.
Within a day of the statement, the U.S. House of Representatives voted once again to deny funds to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to perform the transfer.
Section 536 of the now-passed $51 billion Commerce, Science, and Justice appropriations bill states, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to relinquish the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration with respect to Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions."
Similar language was enacted last year, defunding the Internet giveaway through September 30, 2015. The new language would make the prohibition permanent, keeping Internet governance under Commerce Department oversight for the foreseeable future.
As for Chehade, he clearly has no idea what is actually happening on Capitol Hill. Did anyone even tell him the defund was in the Commerce bill? Does he even know?
Or perhaps he just doesn't think Congress matters.
In May, Chehade proclaimed that the transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration would be complete by the end of 2015.
The statement prompted backlash from one critic of the Internet governance transfer, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning.
"While Congress has defunded all NTIA actions to transition the IANA functions to ICANN or anybody else, Chehade thinks he is the king of the Internet by seducing countries around the world to support his coup," Manning said.
Manning continued, "Chehade needs to understand one simple thing: The IANA functions are the property of the U.S. government. Says it right in the contract. He is a contractor. Nothing more, nothing less."
Manning urged Congress to renew the contract temporarily while reengaging "an open bidding process for the long term for other candidates who will not actively work against U.S. interests."
Which, with House action now to stamp out the Internet giveaway once and for all, a contract renewal may be the administration's only option at the end of the day.
Yet, the White House has issued a veto threat of the appropriations bill. In its statement, the administration said, "The Administration strongly objects to the provision that prevents the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from using funds to relinquish its responsibility with respect to internet domain name system functions, a commitment the U.S. Government made more than a decade ago."
But when push came to shove on the continuing resolution last year, the defund language was included, likely at the insistence of House negotiators. And Obama did not veto it.
Meaning, neither Obama's idle threats nor Chehade's out-of-touch delusions should discourage Congress from acting to protect U.S. interests in a free and open Internet. There is too much at stake.
Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government
Michael Brelo decision
This letter is in response to the coverage of the court decision concerning Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo.
I listened to Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell read his decision and found his thought process reasonable given the series of events he was required to describe. Whether or not you agree with his decision is immaterial given that the Law has spoken. And certainly people can protest peacefully and work to improve the system that produced such a catastrophe. Still, there are no innocent parties here. Certainly Mr. Russell should have obeyed the order of a Police Officer to stop. What other lives were placed in harms way because he chose to continue fleeing? But why does it require so many police cruisers to join in a high-speed chase? Given the length of the travel why couldn't some sort of blockade been set up to stop the person fleeing? Mr. Russell and Ms. Williams did not have to die because the ultimate cause of their death could have been prevented. And what does this say about a potential diversionary tactic that could be employed by domestic/foreign terrorists on American soil?
For those of you in the African-American community who are tempted to be filled with rage and hatred at every white police officer I can only say that I had a member of my family (Patrolman Hilary Cudnik believed to be the distant cousin of my Uncle Boley Cudnik) who was killed in the act of performing his duty. But he was killed by a African-American. Because of the influence handed down to me from my Paternal Grandfather (Dziadzia) Albert Joseph Bialek and my mother (Eileen Moran Bialek) I did not react to Hilary's murder like most people did. I never believed that looting and burning down businesses would solve anything and would certainly not bring him back. My African-American brothers and sisters please refrain from engaging in violence as it will only exacerbate the situation. But rather let our two communities come together in reconciliation and love to make Cleveland once again the best location in the nation if for no other reason than to have achieved racial harmony once and for all.
Solutions to America's problems
Reform disabled Social Security. Don't ask the government to give you money every month if you are not truly disabled from making an income. You can receive it at age 62 or 66 like most other Americans. Reports of crooked attorneys, doctors and even judges abound when it comes to abusing the Social Security system.
Cut the corporate tax rate and give our lost jobs an incentive to come home.
Tax all imports from Mexico, China, Vietnam and other countries up to 20% to level the playing field. Corporations have gone to Mexico, China and other countries and are paying slave wages. Americans are buying cheaper products from other countries but we are sacrificing our own jobs and economy.
We must secure our nation. Put Americans to work building the wall between Mexico and us. Further, put Americans to work fixing and building new bridges in America.
Raise the gasoline tax. This is not a popular idea but even one to two cents a gallon could put a lot of people to work updating our highways.
Stop wasting money on Iraq. As we provide vehicles and weapons for Iraq we are merely feeding ISIS who take them away for their own use. We should provide weapons and support to the Turks. The Iraqi army has proven they cannot do the job.
Raise the minimum wage to $10. Ten dollars is not going to break anybody. The minimum wage is not the answer. More jobs that pay more money are what our country needs. However $10 an hour is not going to kill our country.
Utilize our own American energy. We must develop green energy but in the meantime we should use our oil, gas and coal. We have plenty of it and we need to be independent of the Middle East. Too much war has gone on over there because of oil. If we don't need their oil then the lives of American soldiers could be spared.
We must continue to have a strong military. Take care of our Veterans, seniors on Social Security and continue to find better health solutions such as better prevention and care.
We should also stop killing each other. What does it say about us when more people have been killed in Chicago since 2001 than American soldiers in Afghanistan?
I know you feel helpless. Most Americans do. One thing you can do is to vote a new face into office. From local government to the White House we are desperate for help. Politicians who have only used their offices to become rich need to be voted out and released to the real world to experience what they have done to the country.
One more thing you can do is pray. We need the help of
God. You can still do that in America. However, we have allowed our government to take it out of the schools and government places. Don't think for a minute that some people would not love to take that away from you altogether.
The Iraqi Army has a history of moving to the rear and exposing their back sides to attacking forces.
The Iraqi Army melted like butter when we attacked them in 2003. They faded away when ISIL attacked them, and then lost Mosul and most of northwestern Iraq along with large quantities of U.S. equipment. Recently they turned tail and abandoned U.S. military equipment when they ran from Ramadi.
The Iraqi Army cannot be relied upon to fight ISIL or any other insurgent groups, and we should not supply them with weapons we could possibly face in the future.
Our attack aircraft are currently destroying former U.S. military vehicles captured by ISIL from the Iraqi Army, and this will continue into the future.
The latest news is the Administration is sending 2,000 anti-tank rockets to combat ISIL vehicles. We should not supply these rockets to the Iraqi Army, because they will probably fall into the hands of ISIL and other terrorist organizations, and if we ever have to go back into Iraq, our military could encounter these weapons.
We should reduce sending military equipment to the Iraqi Army and increase arms shipments to the Kurds and Druze.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, New Hampshire
It's an absolute fact that the United States remains by far, a Christian Nation.
So why are we, the MAJORITY, permitting the White House to push us around and treat us like second class citizens?
We all need to raise our voices...We can no longer afford to sit down and take the dirt Obama is dealing. He gets away with what he wants because we, THE MAJORITY are SILENT and do nothing.
He provokes racial animosity and we, THE MAJORITY, remain silent and do nothing.
He challenges and attacks our rights and we, THE MAJORITY, remain silent and do nothing.
He refuses to uphold our immigration laws and we THE MAJORITY, remain silent and do nothing.
He attacks our long time allies and partners and we THE MAJORITY, remain silent and do nothing.
He permits Islamist terrorists to run rampant through the mid east committing unspeakable atrocities and we THE MAJORITY, remain silent and do nothing.
He takes it upon HIMSELF to permit un-vetted immigrants from third world countries to invade our country and we THE MAJORITY, remain silent and do nothing.
He permits a religion to flourish inside OUR country despite their demands that we change OUR Constitution and OUR lifestyle and OUR values to meet their desires and we THE MAJORITY, remain silent and do nothing.
He reduces our National Defense to alarmingly and dangerous low levels and we THE MAJORITY, remain silent and do nothing.
There is no doubt that we all need to do more, become more vocal, refuse to be silenced, refuse to be intimidated and face down those that challenge OUR Rights in OUR Country no matter who they are or think they are. We ARE the cradle to grave Americans whose families have bled and built this nation. It is insane to permit ANYONE to DICTATE to us how we will live and what we will accept.
It's time to turn back the clock and shut down Barack.