Is she insane (we already know the answer to that question)? Obama won Florida’s 13th congressional district in 2012.
Is she insane (we already know the answer to that question)? Obama won Florida’s 13th congressional district in 2012.
And HHS went out of their way to make sure it went by unnoticed.
ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.
This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.
That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.
In 2013, HHS decided that ObamaCare’s wave of policy terminations qualified as a “hardship” that entitled people to a special type of coverage designed for people under age 30 or a mandate exemption. HHS originally defined and reserved hardship exemptions for the truly down and out such as battered women, the evicted and bankrupts.
But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you “believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy” or “you consider other available policies unaffordable.”
This lax standard—no formula or hard test beyond a person’s belief—at least ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that “you experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance,” which only requires “documentation if possible.” And yet another waiver is available to those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.
Note to Lance Bass: It’s HealthCare.gov, not HealthCare.org.
Even if you consider the three fewer days in February, the number of people who “enrolled” (which is a term I use lightly because they only picked a plan) was down from January. HHS also missed its own projections by 34%.
Via CNS News:
In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Health and Human Services officials said February was a “short month,” and that may explain why more people enrolled in Obamacare in January than signed up in February.
But don’t call the 943,000 February sign-ups a decline from January’s 1.146 million!
The 203,000 fewer people who enrolled in Obamcare in February than in January was a drop of 17.7 percent.
“I would note that February’s obviously a short month,” said Nancy Delew, the acting deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS. “There are 28 days in February. January’s a longer month. We also had the period of time covered in the January report included several days from December. December had a lot of enrollment activity. So we don’t think that we had a decline in the month of February.”
The reporter noted that earlier HHS projections called for 1.27 million people to sign up in February. (The 943,000 who did sign up fell 327,000, or 34.6%, short of HHS’s projection.) What about that?
Oh, but “projections are constantly changing,” Julie Bataille responded. Bataille, the communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said HHS is “certainly encouraged by the increasing percentage of people that have enrolled and covered. And we think that we are on the right trajectory as we head into the end of March.”
Even better, the White House is denying the donations had anything to do with their decision.
Via NY Times:
The donations kept pouring in: hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to President Obama and more than a dozen members of Congress, carefully routed through the families of two wealthy brothers in Florida.
They had good reason to be generous. The two men, Roberto and William Isaias, are fugitives from Ecuador, which has angrily pressed Washington to turn them over, to no avail. A year after their relatives gave $90,000 to help re-elect Mr. Obama, the administration rejected Ecuador’s extradition request for the men, fueling accusations that such donations were helping to keep the brothers and their families safely on American soil.
“The Isaias brothers fled to Miami not to live off their work, something just, but to buy themselves more mansions and Rolls-Royces and to finance American political campaigns,” President Rafael Correa of Ecuador told reporters last month. “That’s what has given them protection,” he added, an allegation the Obama administration and members of Congress reject. [...]
Donations from the relatives of criminal suspects have proved vexing before. In 2012, Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign said it would return more than $200,000 raised by relatives of a Mexican casino magnate who had fled charges in the United States and sought a pardon to return.
The White House says that the decisions in the Isaias case are not influenced by donations.
What other answers?
Via Free Beacon:
CALLER: I have been watching your show, and it is sad to know that you have silenced the voices that talk about building seven on 9/11.
HOST: We have not silenced them. They have called into the show.
LORETTA SANCHEZ: I think it is a good thing for people to push and suggest there might be other answers. Honestly, the best information we get comes from constituents who tell us, have you seen this, that document. We have found out a lot of things that way.
HOST: When a congressperson is sitting here and we get those phone calls, we welcome them to respond. If it is off topic, we will move on.
More “zero tolerance” madness.
Via EAG News:
A high school student in Grand Island, N.Y. received a one day in-school suspension this week after refusing to turn his National Rifle Association t-shirt inside out.
Shane Kinney, a 16-year-old sophomore at Grand Island High School, was confronted Tuesday after a teacher claimed his shirt was an “inappropriate” violation of the school’s dress code.
“It’s the same shirt he’s worn before, but this time they said something about it,” Shane’s father, Wayne Kinney, told WGRZ-TV.
Although the school’s dress code makes no mention of political or firearm related attire, school administrators argued that Kinney’s shirt had the ability to “disrupt or interfere with the educational process.”
“They said it was the guns,” Shane’s father said.
According to Kinney, who is an NRA member along with his parents, fellow students have done nothing but compliment him on the shirt.
“They haven’t said anything bad about it, although they don’t hunt,” Kinney told WBEN Radio. “The only people giving me trouble were teachers.”
Remember when the media/Dems mocked Romney endlessly for being “out of touch” when he expressed his amazement at a touchscreen ordering system inside a sandwich shop?
President Barack Obama took on a daunting task on Tuesday: shopping for clothes for his wife and daughters during a brief stop at a Gap store while raising money for Democrats in New York.
Obama was in New York to attend fundraisers aimed at building up campaign war chests for this year’s midterm congressional elections, which he said are key to how much of his agenda he can get done in the rest of his time in office. [...]
Using a credit card to pay, Obama pretended that he did not know that he could sign his name on the credit card machine.
“Oh wow. So, you can sign the machine?” he said.
As reporters took note, Obama said he was teasing: “They had these around the last time I shopped.”
1 Dead. 16 Injured. Easy to compare it to 9/11.
Something tell me the Russians aren’t cowering in fear.
Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to London to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday to try to “diffuse” mounting tensions between Russia and the United States.
Kerry announced the hastily arraigned trip during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Wendesday. He said he will use the meeting to try to “de-escalate” the crisis sparked by Russia’s military incrusion into Ukrainian territory.
Kerry said that the U.S. is not eager to apply sanctions on Russia’s $40 billion worith of annual trade with the U.S.
“We do not seek a world in which we have to apply additional costs,” he said, adding that isolating Russia could harm efforts on Iran, Syria and nuclear non-proliferation.
But he said the U.S. must present Lavrov with choices.
“We will do what we have to do if Russia cannot find the way to make the right choices here,” he said.
Obamacare is a tax.
Via CNS News
Travelers passing through the Oakland Airport may be in for a surprise when they get their meal or drink receipts – a surcharge for employees’ health benefits. The Oakland Airport authority decided to allow an additional surcharge to be added to patrons’ bills – not unlike the Obamacare surcharge restaurants in Florida and L.A. are charging.
“A 2% Airport Health Benefits Surcharge will apply to all pre-tax food and beverage purchases,” a sign says on one eatery. The receipt in the photo shows a charge for “2% Health SC.”
Acting on a tip that vendors were levying the charge, CNSNews.com reached out to the airport for comment on when the surcharge was instituted, and why.
Scott Wintner, Senior Marketing and Communications representative for the airport, acknowledged that the surcharges are added by concessionaire, but said he could not comment on when the charge started.
Health Benefits Surcharge Receipt
Oakland airport “requires that its vendors charge no more than 15% above street pricing, and this ‘surcharge’ is not an exception to that rule,” Wintner said. Concessionaires could just raise their prices by 2%, but “the idea of a health benefits surcharge comes from Healthy San Francisco,” which he goes on to say “has nothing to do with Oakland.”
PIJ in funded mainly by Iran.
The day after an Israeli air strike killed 3 Islamic Jihad operatives in southern Gaza, at least 20 rockets reported in western Negev communities; Iron Dome intercepts three rockets, according to IDF.
Southern communities near southern and northern Gaza have come under heavy rocket attack on Wednesday evening. The IDF said it was aware of up to 20 rockets fired in the largest attack since 2012′s Operation Pillar of Defense.
Towns targeted include Sderot and other communities in the area. Southern residents have reported several rocket alerts going off consecutively.
The Iron Dome rocket defense system shot down three of the rockets, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Office.
One rocket landed in Sderot, according to police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld, although there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, according to reports by Palestinian media.
Even the far-left Juan Williams is calling this an attempt by liberals to silence a black conservative (who put the fear of God in Dems).
Via Washington Times:
For years, the Federal Communications Commission has allowed TV stations to execute joint operating agreements allowing themselves to outsource tasks such as advertising sales to group owners with more resources.
But when conservative columnist and entrepreneur Armstrong Williams recently purchased two stations, making him one of America’s few black owners of local TV affiliates, the commission unexpectedly decided to use his acquisition as a test case to review the practice.
The actions — coupled with other recent FCC decisions such as a plan to survey newsrooms that alarmed news media before it was withdrawn — have injected questions about whether a commission set up by Congress to be nonpartisan is now acting with a political litmus test under the Obama administration.
The FCC, backed by the Obama administration Justice Department, argues that broadcasters have used the shared-service, or “sidecar,” arrangements to circumvent long-standing rules against owning multiple television stations in a single market, allowing them to raise ad prices and weaken market competition. But critics say the effects of the rules — which could be taken up at the commission’s next meeting March 31 — on owners such as Mr. Williams suggest a more partisan motive.
Fox News analyst Juan Williams, a friend of Mr. Williams, raised the issue of partisanship in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday. “My suspicion is that liberals at the FCC who claim to be interested in promoting diverse broadcast ownership lose interest if the owner is a conservative like Armstrong Williams,” Juan Williams wrote. “They want diversity — but not of the political kind.”
The Obama-run Military’s assault on Christianity continues unabated.
Via Fox News:
The Air Force Academy removed a Bible verse posted on a cadet’s whiteboard after it determined the posting had offended other cadets, a spokesman for the academy said.
The cadet wrote the passage on the whiteboard posted outside his room. “I have been crucified with Christ therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” the verse from Galatians read.
Mikey Weinstein, director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, told me 29 cadets and four faculty and staff members contacted his organization to complain about the Christian passage.
“Had it been in his room – not a problem,” Weinstein told me. “It’s not about the belief. It’s about the time, the place and the manner.”
He said the Bible verse on the cadet’s personal whiteboard created a hostile environment at the academy.
“It clearly elevated one religious faith (fundamentalist Christianity) over all others at an already virulently hyper-fundamentalist Christian institution,” he said. “It massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism and supremacy at USAFA.”
Who knew that a Bible verse posted on a whiteboard could generate such outrage?
Weinstein said he immediately contacted the Air Force Academy and filed a complaint. Exactly two hours and nine minutes later, the Bible verse had been scrubbed from the cadet’s whiteboard.
A building collapsed in Manhattan this morning following an explosion, injuring more than a dozen people and scattering dust and debris across streets and sidewalks.
The New York City Fire Department said shortly after 9:45 a.m. it was responding to a building collapse and reported explosion in East Harlem.
Here comes that pen he’s been warning us about.
Washington (AP) — President Obama will direct the Labor Department to strengthen overtime pay protections for millions of workers, a White House official said.
The directive is meant to help salaried workers, such as fast-food shift supervisors or convenience store managers, who may be expected to work more than 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay. The proposed change is part of Obama’s effort to focus on closing the gap between the wealthy and the poor, which also includes a call to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10.
The proposal is likely to be met with opposition from some Republicans and members of the business community who say the private sector should have flexibility in setting wages.
Under the new changes Obama is seeking, the Labor Department could raise the pay threshold for workers covered by overtime rules. Currently, salaried workers who make more than $455 per week are exempt from overtime.
Obama is expected to announce the proposed regulation changes on Thursday. The announcement is part of his self-described “year of action,” a series of economy-focused executive decisions that don’t require congressional approval.
(Washington, D.C.) – The President recently participated in a health care town hall with Spanish-language media. He responded to a question received via email, from a consumer who makes $36,000 per year and cannot find insurance for a family of three for less than $315 per month. The President responded that “if you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, their cell phone bill… it may turn out that, it’s just they haven’t prioritized health care.” He added that if a family member gets sick, the father “will wish he had paid that $300 a month.”
According to the National Center for Public Policy Research, the health care law is reducing choice and increasing premiums for millions of Americans. Ehealthinsurance reports that consumers are paying an average of 39% more than they did before the law was implemented. The high cost of policies is contributing to the continued weak enrollment numbers under the law, which are now showing signs of decreasing with less than 3 weeks left to enroll. When he sought the Presidency, Mr. Obama said his plan would deliver affordable care that people would be “desperate” to purchase. – See more at: http://www.thelibreinitiative.com/press/president-choose-between-cable-phone-or-health-care#sthash.Sccqkr8C.dpuf
And now we have Wasserman Schultz and the rest of the Dems claiming the results in FL-13 was not a referendum on Obamacare.
Via National Review:
Democrats are downplaying any larger significance from Republican David Jolly’s win over Democrat Alex Sink in Tuesday’s special election, but a recent memo found the party was hoping the race would be a blueprint to display public support for Obamacare come November. A memo from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director Kelly Ward obtained by the Hill last month even warned that Republicans’ opposition to Obamacare “comes at their own peril in 2014.”
“Democrats are now on offense over the Affordable Care Act, putting Republicans on their heels over the costs of their plan to repeal the law altogether,” Ward wrote to staffers, according to a February 26 report from the newspaper. “Americans are rejecting Republicans’ repeal agenda both nationally and in swing districts, where voters want to see the Affordable Care Act fixed and improved, not repealed.”
We can hitch a ride with the Russians from the new launch pad in the Ukraine
Via Florida Today
The nation must commit to protecting and improving military spacecraft critical to future conflicts amid growing threats and budget pressure, the head of Air Force Space Command said today in Cape Canaveral.
“We as a nation have to decide how we’re going to respond to the threats that we see coming down the pike in space,” Gen. William Shelton told the National Space Club Florida Committee’s monthly meeting. “It’s a very complex and increasingly contested environment, and we’ve got to respond.”
Shelton congratulated the Space Coast, particularly United Launch Alliance, on its contribution to an “unprecedented” string of 68 consecutive successful national security launches.
He said SpaceX has completed one of three missions needed to earn certification to compete for national security launches, and the Air Force was waiting on data for two more launches.
But he said SpaceX’s success launching food and other cargo to the International Space Station for NASA – another is planned early this Sunday from Cape Canaveral – was not the same level of importance as national security satellites.
“That doesn’t represent the catastrophic loss much like a national security payload failure would represent a significant loss to the nation,” he said. “So there’s a big difference.”
Gee, I wonder who the teacher thinks would be offended.
Via Daily Mail:
A teacher allegedly ordered a 10-year-old boy to take off his Help for Heroes wristband because it could cause offence.
Tracy Tew was shocked when her son Charlie was put on a report card at Maldon Primary School in Essex after he refused to take off the charity rubber bracelet sold to honour injured soldiers.
Charlie wears the wristband – bought at the Colchester Military Festival – in honour of murdered solider Lee Rigby and service personnel in his family, including his great-granddad and uncle.
Mrs Tew, 38, a domestic service assistant at a hospital, said: ‘We are really proud of Charlie for sticking to his guns. He wanted to keep it on and he didn’t agree with the reasons why he shouldn’t.
The mother of two added: ‘When the teacher said she was worried it was going to offend people, I thought it was disgusting. Our family are up in arms because we are all military minded.
‘With what happened with Lee Rigby, Charlie really wanted to wear a wristband.’
Drummer Rigby, 25, was killed by two Islamic fanatics in Woolwich, south-east London, in May last year. Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were jailed for the murder last month.
Look out below!
The decline in President Barack Obama’s popularity has heightened the vulnerability of his fellow Democrats in this fall’s congressional elections, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The survey shows that just 41 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, a record low for his time in the White House. An endorsement from the sixth-year presidential incumbent would make 42 percent of Americans less likely to vote for a congressional candidate, while it would make only 22 percent more likely to support a candidate.
“The president’s being taken off the field as a Democratic positive,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts the NBC/WSJ poll with his Democratic counterpart Peter Hart. To maximize their chance at survival, “the Democrats are going to run under the Tip O’Neill mantra, ‘All politics is local,’” Hart said.
The causes of the decline have grown familiar after a cascade of governmental turmoil in 2013. Fully 65 percent of Americans say the country is “on the wrong track.” Despite economic growth that averaged 2.5 percent per quarter last year, 57 percent say they believe the country remains in a recession.
I sense another flood of executive orders headed our way.
Via Weekly Standard:
President Obama knows that his time is almost up. It’s a point he’s making to liberal Democratic donors to get them to donate generously in this year’s mid-term election.
At a Democratic fundraiser last night in New York City, President Obama said, “I hope you will all step up because, although I’m very optimistic about our long-term trends, the notion that we would waste two years in further inaction rather than move boldly on a path that I think all of us in this room agree on — we don’t have time to waste.”
The president continued, “I don’t have time to waste. The clock is ticking. There’s less than two years left — less than three years left. I want to squeeze every last little bit of work that I can during the remainder of my term so that, looking back, I’m going to be able to say that we left everything on the field and every single person I could help in this office — which is such an incredible privilege — I helped.”