The House of Representatives' Friday vote to fund everything in government except Obamacare was labeled a “personal attack on me” by President Obama. “I think this is the first time in the nation's 200-year plus history that a House of Congress has singled out one program for budget cuts just to diss a President.”
Obama dismissed out-of-hand the possibility that House Republicans might be genuinely responding to the public's aversion to Obamacare (polls show a majority of Americans favor defunding the program). “People who oppose this crucial health care reform are just plain wrong,” the President insisted. “My staff and I have made a heroic effort to educate everyone on its benefits. Only willful ignorance or racism can explain the continued resistance to this gift we are trying to bestow.”
While President Obama may construe the Affordable Care Act as a “gift,” it is not free to the intended recipients. Indications are that it will add thousands of dollars a year to the cost of obtaining health insurance coverage—amounts that the backers of the law had hoped would be borne by employers. Employers, however, have made use of provisions in the law that allow them to escape this burden by converting more employees to part time status (i.e., under 30 hours per week on the job). The Obama Administration has also generously (and illegally) deferred statutory deadlines to give businesses more time to accomplish this conversion.
Meanwhile, holders of “catastrophic coverage” policies are being told their plans do not comply with the new law. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has explained, “People may think they only need coverage for major emergencies, but our experts have determined that more extensive coverage is the socially responsible way to go. On the one hand, broader coverage of preventive care can help reduce the risk of major health problems going undetected. On the other hand, the provision of coverage for elective services like abortions and sex changes helps spread these costs over a wider base—making them more affordable to those who choose to access these services.”
DC Incomes Rise While Private Sector Average Declines
The latest report from the US Census shows that median household incomes in America have declined by over 6% since the year 2000. In contrast, incomes for Washington, DC households have climbed by more than 23% over this same time span.
Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, hailed the report as “clear evidence that the Administration's efforts to boost the economy are working. We have provided a pathway for those seeking to improve their lives. Joining the federal workforce or working for employers who are engaged intimately with the federal government—either as lobbyists for various programs or as beneficiaries of government spending on infrastructure, social, or environmental programs—is an escalator to upward mobility for those with appropriately progressive values.”
Warren Buffet, one whose appropriately progressive values have enabled him to prosper mightily (he is among the top ten richest men in the world) warned that “GOP threats to reject raising the debt ceiling are dumb. Access to ever increasing amounts of borrowed money is crucial to ensuring the flow of funds into the proper hands. If the government is put on reduced rations it will cut into the fat that even these GOP Congressman rely on to buy votes on election day. They'd be goring their own ox.”
McCain Tells Russians that “Putin Has Betrayed the Revolution”
In an op ed aimed over the head of Russian President Vladimir Putin and directly to the Russian people, US Senator John McCain tells them “you deserve better.”
“If you look at the pattern of Mr. Putin's behavior it seems clear that he has deviated from the path set down by Lenin back in 1917,” McCain wrote. “If you look at the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, Russia is rising in the rankings. That means your country is becoming more capitalistic. Is this really the direction you want to go?”
“Mr. Putin has also taken a stance in defense of traditional religious values and institutions,” McCain continued. “He is reinjecting the opium of the masses. This undermines the secular values that so many of your countrymen have died to further for nearly 100 years. Is this really the direction you want to go?”
“Finally, his meddling in Syria has denied the world the opportunity for a major conflict and its uplifting potential for unifying both sides in a cause bigger than personal selfishness,” the op ed added. “Have you forgotten how good it felt when Stalin led your country into the great patriotic war against the Nazis? What noble venture will your generation enjoy under Mr. Putin's reign?”
The Senator ended his piece by offering himself as a replacement for Putin saying that “if you, like I, have become disillusioned with backsliding and want to break free of namby-pambyism, I would gladly follow in the footsteps of that other great American Naval war hero John Paul Jones. If called upon to serve I will come.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) expressed pessimism that Russians would accept his colleague's offer, but agreed that “as slim as the prospects may be, it would give us another option for going to war with Iran. I'm confident that if John were calling the shots in Moscow Iran would have no alternative but to give in or be blasted to rubble. McCain would not tolerate any disobedience.”
Graham's main option is to try to get Congress to authorize President Obama to “use whatever force is necessary at whatever time is most advantageous against Iran or any other nation, organization, or individual if, in the President's judgment, it is necessary for the advancement of US global objectives.”
Dems Walk Out on Benghazi Hearing
Fifteen Democrats on the House Oversight Committee walked out during testimony of the parents of Benghazi victims Sean Smith and Ty Woods. The only Democrats who stayed for testimony were Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (Maryland) and Representative Jackie Speier (Calif).
One of the Democrat “walk-outs,” Representative Gerald Connolly (VA) defended the seeming disrespect. “Let's concede that Smith and Woods were heroes,” Connolly said. “Their deaths were of their own making. They were ordered to stand down, but attempted a rescue of the Ambassador on no higher authority than their own machismo. Sad as it may be, the grief of the parents is not our concern.”
What is the Democrats' concern “is the blatant attempt to use the demise of these men to try to discredit the Administration. That others did not also disobey orders to stand down supposedly means that the Secretary of State or President Obama is somehow at fault for abandoning the victims. Well, the Administration may have had greater obligations than preserving the lives of the four who were killed. Probing too deeply into what those obligations may have been threatens national security. Besides, at this point what difference could it make?”
Connolly offered the opinion that “the best way to put an end to the parade of phony scandals the GOP is using to try to distract everyone from the President's agenda for America may be for us to refuse to participate in the farce. If we can maintain solidarity by walking out on the IRS, NSA, and Fast and Furious hearings the media may decline to cover a one-sided affair and the investigations may peter out due to lack of interest.”
US Attorney General May Take Michigan to Court
US Attorney General Eric Holder warned Michigan legislators against passing two welfare reform bills. One bill would require welfare recipients to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits. Those who failed the test would be denied benefits. The other bill would require welfare recipients who are able to perform a minimum of community service in exchange for payments.
Holder characterized the bills as “unconscionable intrusions on personal liberties and grossly inhumane. Forcing someone to perform community service in exchange for welfare violates the Constitution's ban on involuntary servitude. This nation fought a Civil War to free the Black man from slavery. I cannot sit by idly and allow a state to try to reestablish it under a so-called 'community service' masquerade.”
“As for the drug test requirement, isn't it obvious that a person on drugs is disabled?” Holder asked. “Denying welfare benefits to the disabled is clearly inhumane. Should these bills be enacted Michigan must be prepared to face us in court because we will be filing an immediate injunction and asking for punitive damages.”
Arabs Complain about 9/11 Museum
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has filed a complaint against the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City. The complaint cites the absence of brochures in Arabic and the “one-sided” nature of the exhibits. Brochures available at the museum come in 10 languages. Arabic is not one of them.
“There are a billion people who speak Arabic,” Raed Jarrar, communications director for the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee asserted. “Their needs are not being met by this discriminatory policy.”
A spokesman for the museum contends that “Arabic speaking visitors are relatively rare at the museum. We cannot justify the expense of printing a brochure for such a tiny fraction of our patrons.”
“The fraction of Arabic speakers might not be so tiny if the exhibits weren't so biased,” Jarrar countered. “At least 10 young Arab men were killed in the World Trade Center crashes. Their lives were also ended prematurely. Yet the exhibits treat them solely as villains. There is no effort to balance the portrayal showing both the good and the bad. This has got to change.”