Obamacare: still no payment system in place…stopgap system will GUESS how much insurers are owed
The Obama administration persists in failure after failure on the rollout of Obamacare. We are well past the enrollment deadline, and still there is no payment system in place for individuals and families who have selected plans.
from the Hill:
An official involved in ObamaCare’s rollout told lawmakers Thursday that the payment system at HealthCare.gov remains incomplete, even as users are reporting better experiences on the site.
Gary Cohen, the director of Medicare’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, revealed that a system to directly transfer federal subsidies to insurance companies is still being built.
The remarks came more than three months after the launch of HealthCare.gov, which had enrolled more than one million people in private plans as of Dec. 31.
Cohen testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight, where members pressed him to estimate when the back-end payment system would be finished.
While Cohen did not give a timetable for the project, he said that a stopgap system would pay insurers next week based on calculations of what they are owed.
read the rest
About that “stopgap system”… Would this be coming out of the Federal coffers? If so, what law authorizes the Federal government to pay the premiums of millions of private individuals?
10:07 pm • 16 January 2014 • View comments
NSA collects 200 million text messages daily to extract location, contacts, and credit card info
They haven’t thwarted a single terrorist but that doesn’t stop the NSA from gobbling up every private conversation available to them by any means necessary.
The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.
The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages – including their contacts – is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The documents also reveal the UK spy agency GCHQ has made use of the NSA database to search the metadata of “untargeted and unwarranted” communications belonging to people in the UK.
The NSA program, codenamed Dishfire, collects “pretty much everything it can”, according to GCHQ documents, rather than merely storing the communications of existing surveillance targets.
The NSA has made extensive use of its vast text message database to extract information on people’s travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more – including of individuals under no suspicion of illegal activity.
read the rest
Orwell couldn’t have even imagined the extent to which the NSA has expanded Big Brother’s eye. There is no more privacy.
3:57 pm • 16 January 2014 • View comments
Maryland cops detain and harass UNARMED concealed carry permit holder
John Filippidis is a gun owner with a concealed carry permit from the state of Florida. When his family made a road trip to a wedding in New Jersey, he knew he would be traveling through states that weren’t 2nd Amendment friendly. Rather than deal with the hassle, he left his handgun at home in a safe.
But driving through Maryland, Filippidis was pulled over for no apparent reason and harassed in front of his family about the gun in his car that didn’t exist.
from Tampa Bay Tribune:
“Ten minutes he’s behind us,” John says. “We weren’t speeding. In fact, lots of other cars were whizzing past.”
“You know you have a police car behind you, you don’t speed, right?” Kally adds.
Says John, “We keep wondering, is he going to do something?”
Finally the patrol car’s emergency lights come on, and it’s almost a relief. Whatever was going on, they’d be able to get it over with now. The officer — from the Transportation Authority Police, as it turns out, Maryland’s version of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority — strolls up, does the license and registration bit, and returns to his car.
According to Kally and John (but not MTAP, which, pending investigation, could not comment), what happened next went like this:
Ten minutes later he’s back, and he wants John out of the Expedition. Retreating to the space between the SUV and the unmarked car, the officer orders John to hook his thumbs behind his back and spread his feet. “You own a gun,” the officer says. “Where is it?”
“At home in my safe,” John answers.
“Don’t move,” says the officer.
Now he’s at the passenger’s window. “Your husband owns a gun,” he says. “Where is it?”
First Kally says, “I don’t know.” Retelling it later she says, “And that’s all I should have said.” Instead, attempting to be helpful, she added, “Maybe in the glove [box]. Maybe in the console. I’m scared of it. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I might shoot right through my foot.”
The officer came back to John. “You’re a liar. You’re lying to me. Your family says you have it. Where is the gun? Tell me where it is and we can resolve this right now.”
Of course, John couldn’t show him what didn’t exist, but Kally’s failure to corroborate John’s account, the officer would tell them later, was the probable cause that allowed him to summon backup — three marked cars joined the lineup along the I-95 shoulder — and empty the Expedition of riders, luggage, Christmas gifts, laundry bags; to pat down Kally and Yianni; to explore the engine compartment and probe inside door panels; and to separate and isolate the Filippidises in the back seats of the patrol cars.
Ninety minutes later, or maybe it was two hours — “It felt like forever,” Kally says — no weapon found and their possessions repacked, the episode ended … with the officer writing out a warning.
“All that time, he’s humiliating me in front of my family, making me feel like a criminal,” John says. “I’ve never been to prison, never declared bankruptcy, I pay my taxes, support my 20 employees’ families; I’ve never been in any kind of trouble.”
Face red, eyes shining, John pounds his knees. “And he wants to put me in jail. He wants to put me in jail. For no reason. He wants to take my wife and children away and put me in jail. In America, how does such a thing happen? … And after all that, he didn’t even write me a ticket.”
read the rest
These police officers were not engaged in any kind of “law enforcement.” They were not to protect and serve. They were there to target and harass a law abiding citizen over a gun that he’s Constitutionally entitled to carry.
If a private citizen uses force to detain and harass somebody over their political positions, it’s a felony. If a person with a badge uses force to detain and harass somebody over their political positions, he’s called a police officer.
10:31 am • 16 January 2014 • View comments
Disgusting: MSNBC analist blames Ambassador Chris Stevens for his own murder
Katty Kay is a BBC corespondent and a frequent guest analyst on MSNBC. This morning she was brought on Joe Scarborough’s panel to talk about the damning bi-partisan report blaming the Obama administration and State Department for not heeding the warnings leading up to Ambassador Chris Steven’s death. And what does she do? She ignores all the facts and blames Stevens for his own murder.
Here’s the video:
Oh, he was “fallible”! So, that just let’s everyone off the hook. No.
Chris Stevens not only sounded the alarm on the dangers but he himself requested additional security over and over again, and his requests were denied by cables bearing Hillary Clinton’s name. The very report she discusses in this video says so, and her argument is a complete rejection of the facts.
This is typical “blame the victim” behavior from the left, and it’s revolting.
9:03 am • 16 January 2014 • View comments
Sad Chris Matthews asks “How does this President regain his heroic stature?”
Watching Chris Matthew’s show is like reading the incessant text messages of a middle school girl who’s been spurned by her first love. Sometimes she’s nasty, sometimes she’s swooning, and most of the time she just sounds crazy.
Chris Matthews: How does this president regain his historic, heroic stature which he had? I’m not saying he was ever super popular with more than 50-some-percent of the country, but he was seen as a hero to a lot of people. I think he’s lost that for a while and I’m trying to figure out how does he champion the election and re-election of his friends in the Senate especially in the south in red states, and that’s what we’re talking about here, even in the case of Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, all red states. How does he go down there? Like today he is visiting North Carolina and talked about employment. And Kay Hagan says she is in Washington, too busy to join him. It’s only an hour ride in a plane.
read the rest (click through for the video)
That’s his entire show these days: rambling, incoherent, and longing for his love Obama to send another thrill up his leg.
8:48 am • 16 January 2014 • View comments
Terrific: dozens of Air Force nuclear command officers caught cheating on proficiency tests
People who handle nuclear missiles are just about the last people on earth you want cheating on their proficiency exams, but that’s exactly what’s happening in the US Air Force.
The U.S. Air Force’s nuclear command has been rocked by a cheating scandal involving nearly three dozen officers.
Cheating on a proficiency exam involving intercontinental missile launch officers at the Global Strike Command at Malmstrom Air Force base in Montana apparently was carried out around last August and September by text and appears to be the largest incident of its kind, the Pentagon said.
"This is absolutely unacceptable behavior and it is completely contrary to our core values in the Air Force and as everybody here knows, the No. 1 core value for us is integrity," Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters.
Officials said the nuclear arsenal is secure.
The case involving 34 officers with the 341st Missile Wing stemmed from a drug possession investigation at multiple air bases in the United States and overseas. Two of those caught up in the cheating episode have been linked to the other probe, officials said.
Sixteen officers were ultimately found to have actually cheated on the monthly proficiency exam while the rest knew the answers had been shared with others and did not report the violation, the Pentagon said.
read the rest
Good grief…let’s just put Homer Simpson in charge of the missiles and be done with it.
12:58 am • 16 January 2014 • View comments
MIT climate expert: “Global warming is just a dream come true for politicians” who want more power
Here’s something that we’ve been saying around here for years, but when it comes from an MIT climate professor. Global Warming is purely an excuse for big government politicians to grab as much power and raise as many taxes as they can.
from CBS Boston (emphasis mine):
While Gov. Deval Patrick and others painted a dire picture of what global warming might do to us, others are more skeptical.
MIT Professor Richard Lindzen is a leading international expert on climate change.
“The changes that have occurred due to global warning are too small to account for,” he told WBZ-TV. “It has nothing to do with global warming, it has to do with where we live.”
Lindzen endorses sensible preparedness and environmental protection, but sees what he terms “catastrophism” in the climate change horror stories.
“Global warming, climate change, all these things are just a dream come true for politicians. The opportunities for taxation, for policies, for control, for crony capitalism are just immense, you can see their eyes bulge,” he says.
“Even many of the people who are supportive of sounding the global warning alarm, back off from catastrophism,” Lindzen said. “It’s the politicians and the green movement that like to portray catastrophe.”
read the rest
It has nothing to do with global warming…it has to do with where we live. Meanwhile, liberals still accuse conservatives of being the ones who are anti-science…
12:30 am • 16 January 2014 • View comments
VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel OBLITERATES Obamacare and the uninformed young people who support it
At one point nobody on television would mock Obama or any of his key policies. Then, late last year, the Obamacare rollout happened. It was so egregious that late night comics began mocking the rollout itself. Now that Obamacare is in effect, it’s becoming clear that it’s not just the rollout that’s a disaster…it’s the law itself.
Jimmy Kimmel just took the first big swing.
Here’s the video:
It’s funny because it’s all true. Hopefully Kimmel won’t be the only comic to wake up and realize how utterly stupid Obama’s policies are.
9:51 pm • 15 January 2014 • View comments
Boo Hoo! Senator Dick Durbin and his Democrat friends whine about E-cig use at Golden Globes
Big government statists have found a new target for their outrageous outrage: the E-cig. New York’s new Mayor de Blasio is all wee-weed up about that nasty 2nd hand water vapor. Now, Dick Durbin and his Democrat friends in the Senate don’t even want you to see an E-cigarette on TV.
from Roll Call:
Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and three of his Democratic colleagues are criticizing the Golden Globe Awards for showing celebrities using electronic cigarettes on TV.
Durbin, along with Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, sent a letter Tuesday to NBCUniversal and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association expressing concern about the potential that showing the e-cigs at the awards show will “glamorize smoking.”
The senators ask the two groups to take action to prevent similar appearances by e-cigs at future shows.
The letter to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBCUniversal, which broadcasts the Golden Globes on NBC, appears below:
Dear Mr. Kingma/Mr. Burke:
We write to express concern regarding the prominent display of electronic cigarettes at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards.
Each year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizes excellence in film and television at the Golden Globe Awards. Throughout the country and the world, people tune in to watch fashionable actors on the red carpet, enjoy the show, and root for their favorite films and actors. Unfortunately, this year, many young viewers saw notable displays of e-cigarette use throughout the awards show, including the opening monologue and repeated shots of celebrities smoking e-cigarettes. In light of studies showing that exposure to on-screen smoking is a major contributor to smoking initiation among youth, we are troubled that these images glamorize smoking and serve as celebrity endorsements that could encourage young fans to begin smoking traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes.
read the rest
This is a perfect example of how the nanny state works. It starts with letters of concern…you know…for the children! And then it becomes Congressional hearings. Before you know it, there’s Federal Regulations against inhaling water vapor!
4:23 pm • 15 January 2014 • View comments
VIDEO: Grand Rapids police face Federal lawsuit after harassing legal open-carry gun owner
A Michigan citizen who committed no crime was harassed at gunpoint by Grand Rapids police officers, and now he’s filed a Federal lawsuit against the officers, the police chief, and the city for unlawful detainment.
Deffert’s attorney, Steven Dulan, who is also spokesman for Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, said Deffert’s constitutional rights were violated when he was unlawfully stopped by police.
The city earlier released a recording of a woman’s call to 911 about a man with a gun. The dispatcher told the caller that it was legal to openly carry a handgun, but dispatched police to investigate a “suspicious person” with a holstered firearm.
As Moe held Deffert, Deffert repeatedly said he was not a felon and he could legally open carry. State police say open carry of firearms is not illegal as long as the firearm is carried with lawful intent and not concealed.
“It’s illegal for you to stop me for it in the state of Michigan,” Deffert is heard saying in the recording.
Later, he said he was just walking home after having breakfast at New Beginnings restaurant.
“I’m not breaking a law. … I’m just walking.”
The officer responded: “You’re talking to yourself. You’re going down the road here with a loaded handgun.Could I just think, maybe, you might be some kind of a nut?”
A little later, an officer said: “Is that what you do on a Sunday, you want to stroll down the road? “
Deffert said: “It’s not against the law.”
Shortly before Deffert was released, he officer said, “Well, you’ve got everybody fired up around here today.”
read the rest
Here’s the dashcam video of the encounter between Deffert and the police. For most of the video, Deffert is out of view, but the audio of their exchange is very clear:
This kind of illegal bullying from over-eager, poorly trained police officers has to end. We wish Mr. Deffert God speed in his lawsuit. More citizens need to stand up and demand accountability from law enforcement. The consequences of not holding police accountable are dire, as we have seen in California over the last several days.
10:59 am • 15 January 2014 • View comments
Bipartisan Senate Report: Benghazi attack was preventable
With every new piece of information uncovered about the 9-11 attack on Benghazi, the more shameful Hillary Clinton’s infamous cry of “What difference does it make?” rings.
According to a new bipartisan report from the Senate, the deaths in Benghazi could have been prevented had the Obama administration and the State Department under Hillary Clinton’s leadership heeded the ample warnings they received before the attack.
A long-delayed Senate intelligence committee report released on Wednesday spreads blame among the State Department and intelligence agencies for not preventing attacks on two outposts in Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
The bipartisan report lays out more than a dozen findings regarding the assaults on Sept. 11 and 12, 2012 on the diplomatic compound and a CIA annex in the Libyan city of Benghazi. It says the State Department failed to increase security at the sites despite warnings, and faults intelligence agencies for not sharing information about the existence of the CIA outpost with the U.S. military.
The committee determined that the U.S. military command in Africa didn’t know about the CIA annex and didn’t have the resources to defend the diplomatic compound in an emergency.
“The attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya—to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets—and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission,” the panel said in a statement.
The report also notes, chillingly, that the FBI’s investigation into the attacks has been hampered inside Libya, and that 15 people “supporting the investigation or otherwise helpful to the United States” have since been killed in Benghazi. The report says it is unclear whether those killings were related to the investigation.
read the rest
If you believe the New York Times, you’d still think this was all over a silly Youtube video. What a bunch of trash.
The leadership within the Obama administration have blood on their hands, and the worst part of it is that we still don’t know why they chose to put lives in such jeopardy.
10:08 am • 15 January 2014 • View comments
Obama on executive orders: ‘I’ve got a pen…to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions’
Progressives, this should shock and worry you just as much as does the president’s political opponents. As we’ve noted several times on this site, we do not have a king. We have a president who, by definition, as the word might suggest, has the power to “preside”, not rule. But what does Obama say about his power? He says he’s got an executive pen and he’s not afraid to use it to, in essence, write laws. This is indistinguishable from having an active monarch.
Calling for “all hands on deck” to assist the economy, President Barack Obama is urging his Cabinet to identify ways to keep his administration relevant to people struggling in the up-and-down recovery.
With two weeks left before delivering an economy-focused State of the Union address to Congress, Obama is picking up the pace of his jobs message and demonstrating how he can advance his economic agenda administratively and through his ability to coax action from important interest groups.
“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said Tuesday as he convened his first Cabinet meeting of the year.
Obama continued: ”And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions…
…“One of the things that I’m going to be talking to my Cabinet about is how do we use all the tools available to us, not just legislation, in order to advance a mission that I think unifies all Americans,”
Read the Rest (It’s about what you’d expect from the “journalism” of CBS)
Of course, the article doesn’t mention anything about the problems that might be associated with having one person who gets to impose his will on a supposed free people. Rather, it goes on to imply that if Congress, wasn’t so unwilling to “compromise” and let the president do whatever he wanted to do, he wouldn’t have to use this executive order. Unbelievable.
For those of you who are Obama supporters, remember, this isn’t a left vs. right issue (in reality, things rarely are but especially this). What if our next president is someone with whom you disagree vehemently? What if they wanted to, by executive fiat, impose their religious views on you or reinstate prohibition or anything other random thing that was a their pet issue? Would you be angry about it? I would submit that you would suddenly become fans of liberty and the Constitution again. But this is what happens in countries that have kings. The kings get to impose their will.
Our founders knew this. They had experienced it first hand. They knew that in order for liberty to flourish, they must eliminate the monarch. They were so committed to this belief that they took up arms and fought a war to advance it. And we are throwing that away to advance our personal political agendas.
Progressives, it’s time to become principled on this issue. I implore you to reject Obama’s unprecedented use of executive power, even when you agree with the actual content of the executive order. After all, we don’t have a king. We have a president.
9:33 am • 15 January 2014 • View comments
Naturally: Mike Huckabee wants to ban the term RINO
Former Arkansas Governor loves him some big government. Oh sure, he likes to talk about small government, but he’s a ban-happy statist. There’s a term that’s often assigned to ban-happy, big-government, Common Core-loving, libertarian-bashing, statist Republicans: RINO. Naturally, Mike Huckabee wants to ban that term.
from Washington Examiner:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee wants to ban the term “RINO” — “Republican in Name Only” — in the Republican Party.
The former governor complained in a letter to supporters that during a recent social media outreach, he was disturbed that too many Republicans were attacking each other and calling them names.
"Many of you used a term that I’d like to see outlawed from the vernacular of the party: RINO," he said, calling it a "pejorative term" that questioned one’s purity.
Huckabee pointed out that he got a tweet from someone who complained that he was a RINO, which upset him.
"With all due respect, I’ve fought in the trenches of Republican politics for over two decades, but I wouldn’t pretend that I’m lord over determining who the real Republicans are versus the so-called RINOs," he said.
Huckabee reminded his readers that Jesus once said that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” referring to the Gospel of Matthew.
read the rest
Sorry, Huck. You can’t back up your street cred by quoting Jesus. The people dividing the house are the big government progressives like you.
Sadly, big government progressives like Mike Huckabee have taken over the leadership of the Republican party, so RINO might not be the most accurate term any more. But still, I’ll call Mike Huckabee a RINO all I want because that’s what he is.
1:28 pm • 14 January 2014 • View comments
Surprise! FBI not expected to file criminal charges in IRS targeting of conservative groups
Well, here’s a shocker! Eric Holder’s Justice Department is not expected to file any criminal charges against IRS officials who targeted conservative groups.
from Washington Times:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation didn’t find the kind of political bias needed to file criminal charges over the Internal Revenue Service’s heightened scrutiny of tea party groups, law enforcement officials told theWall Street Journal.
“Instead, what emerged during the probe was evidence of a mismanaged bureaucracy enforcing rules about tax-exemption applications it didn’t understand, according to the law-enforcement officials,” the newspaper said.
The case is still being investigated, but officials familiar with the case said it is increasingly unlikely any criminal charges will result.
The investigation was sparked after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed the IRS had been targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and wrongly delayed the approval of hundreds of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status.
read the rest
We reached out to Iago the Parrot for his reaction to this shocking news story. Here was his response:
10:23 am • 14 January 2014 • View comments
CNN calls bologna on the White House’s bloated Obamacare numbers
It’s nice to see that at least one reporter over at CNN still knows how to do a little journalism. Today, CNN’s financial site is throwing some cold water on the White House’s inflated Obamacare enrollment numbers.
The news is not good for Obamacare.
The Obama administration is trumpeting that 6 million people have health coverage thanks to Obamacare.
Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a blog post Monday that “More than 6 million Americans have now either signed up for a private health insurance plan through the Marketplace or for Medicaid coverage.”
But the numbers are somewhat misleading. Here are the figures:
— 2.1 million Americans signed up for private health insurance through the federal and state exchanges through the end of December.
— 3.9 million people learned they’re eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in October and November.
The squishiness lies in the Medicaid number. The 3.9 million figure includes people who were already on Medicaid and are just renewing, as Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services noted in a blog post late last month. So not all of these folks have coverage due to Obamacare.
read the rest
The 2.1 million number also doesn’t say how many of those are Americans who previously had coverage and saw their plans cancelled. These aren’t new enrollees paying into the system either.
The White House also neglects to say how many of the 2.1 million “enrollees” have actually paid for their plans. Previously, the Obama administration has included people who have “selected a plan” but hadn’t actually enrolled yet.
When all is said and done, the Obama administration is far short of the 7 million new private insurance customers they need to keep Obamacare afloat.
This bad news leaves Obamacare in jeopardy and with two likely options for the future of the Obama administration: the so-called “death spiral” where costs fling wildly out of control or a massive bailout of the health insurance industry. Neither of these are acceptable outcomes.
9:45 am • 14 January 2014 • View comments