Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The Jihadists’ Eternal Plan
While Obama works on his golf swing, they work on mass terror attacks.
Here’s the first and last rule of Islamic jihad: If at first you don’t succeed, plot, plot again.
9/11 wasn’t the first. 9/11 won’t be the last. It’s not “fear-mongering” to face reality. These head-chopping, throat-slitting, bloodthirsty hijackers — of planes, freedom, and civilization — have conspired for decades to inflict modern mass murder on the West. Their homicidal mission is spectacular destruction in the name of the Koran.
Never forget: Eternal Muslim hatred of infidels didn’t start with George W. Bush. Or George H. W. Bush. Or Ronald Reagan. Or the creation of Gitmo. Or the birth of Israel. Or the Twin Towers. Or the Khobar Towers. Or Lockerbie. Or the U.S.S. Cole. Or Fort Hood. Or the Beirut Marine-barracks bombings. Or the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, the bombing of U.S. military headquarters in Riyadh, and the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.
Allah’s animals can’t stop. They won’t stop. Sura 9:5, the verse of the sword, commands them to “slay the idolators wherever you find them, and take them, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush.” No “pagan” throat is safe: American soldiers, worldly journalists, innocent schoolgirls, Jewish teenage boys, and Christian missionaries alike are all targets of Sura 47’s call to “smite the necks” of the unbelievers.
Now our impuissant president sees fit, after one and a half laggard terms in office, to unveil a “plan” for “degrading and ultimately destroying” the Muslim terrorists of ISIS.
To call the Obama administration’s trifling gestures a “bump in the road” to Islamic domination would be an overstatement of astronomic proportions. The bloodless words of the White House are rhetorical pebbles.
While Barack Obama singles out ISIS jihad gangsters for a $5 billion kabuki counterterrorism campaign, he continues to subsidize Hamas terrorists.
He has freed countless al-Qaeda recidivists from the very Gitmo detention facility he vowed to shut down to appease international-jihad enablers of the Kumbaya/Coexist coalition.
Obama’s jihad enablers have rolled out the red carpet at the White House for Islamist funders and frontmen, including:
Esam Omeish, former head of the Muslim Brotherhood–sponsored Muslim American Society and patron of jihad cleric Anwar Awlaki, whom he helped install at Virginia’s notorious Dar al-Hijrah mosque. (That’s the same mosque where two 9/11 hijackers, terrorist financier Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, and Fort Hood Muslim mass murderer Nidal Hasan all worshiped.)
Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, a top lieutenant of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi, who urges followers to kill every last Jew, sanctioned suicide bombings and the killing of our soldiers, and declared that the “U.S. is an enemy of Islam that has already declared war on Islam under the disguise of war on terrorism and provides Israel with unlimited support.”
Hisham al-Talib, another Qaradawi cheerleader welcomed at the White House by Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Al-Talib is an Iraqi-born Muslim identified by the FBI as a Muslim Brotherhood operative and a major contributor to the left-wing Center for Constitutional Rights, the group of jihadi-sympathizing lawyers who helped spring suspected Benghazi terror plotter Abu Sufian bin Qumu from Gitmo.
While Obama has been hitting the golf courses and Hollywood fundraisers over the past six years, the relentless jihadists have been training, recruiting, practicing, testing, and refining.
They’ve infiltrated our prisons, our military, and our universities.
They’ve penetrated our borders, abused our toothless visa programs, and exploited our indiscriminate refugee system to import and export the next generation of soldiers of Allah around the world.
They’re experimenting with shoe bombs, underwear bombs, ink bombs, dry-ice bombs, and cargo bombs.
Their dry runs on airliners continue unabated as our Federal Air Marshal Service shrinks from insufficient funds and abandonment.
They command their own rogue freighter and aviation fleets.
While Obama finally gets around to reading his teleprompter vow to destroy ISIS this week, Osama bin Laden’s heirs are diligently fulfilling their 20-year plan. According to al-Qaeda documents and intelligence released nearly a decade ago, the Islamic avengers are already in their fifth phase of “declaration of the caliphate or the Islamic state.”
Next comes “total war” and “final victory” by 2020, helped along by demographic domination: “The Islamic state’s capabilities will be great beyond measure when Muslims would number more than 1.5 billion.”
Jihadist hijackers and head-choppers don’t quit. Appeasement and empty threats are no deterrent. They will not stop trying to outdo 9/11 — unless, through our deadly adherence to political correctness, apathy, amnesia, open borders, and sloth, we do ourselves in first.
— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies. Her e-mail address email@example.com. © 2014 Creators.comhttp://www.nationalreview.com/article/387533/jihadists-eternal-plan-michelle-malkin
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
The trends are not pretty if you’re a physician — or a person who needs medical care.
By Michael Tanner
Obamacare, as its advocates increasingly point out, has succeeded in expanding the number of Americans with insurance. Even though this achievement came at enormous cost, still leaves millions of Americans uninsured, and dumped millions more into Medicaid, this is still one of the few “successes” that the health-care law can claim.
However, health insurance and access to health care are not the same thing. And evidence is growing that Obamacare is likely to make it harder for us to see a doctor or otherwise obtain care.
Of course, we already know that the limited network of physicians available through most Obamacare exchange-based insurance plans is making it more difficult to see the doctor of your choice. Despite efforts by state regulators to mandate that insurers include more doctors and hospitals in their networks, most Obamacare plans, especially the comparatively low-cost bronze and silver plans, continue to have restricted networks. Nationwide, roughly 70 percent of Obamacare plans offer fewer doctors and hospitals than typical pre-Obamacare plans.
But there is an even bigger issue lurking below the surface.
Even without Obamacare, the Association of American Medical Colleges warns us that we face a shortfall of at least 130,000 doctors by 2025. While both enrollment in medical schools and graduation are up slightly, the increase is nowhere near enough to offset expected retirements. Roughly 40 percent of current doctors are age 55 or over. Moreover, the United States already trails many other countries in the number of physicians per capita, at just 2.5 per 1,000 people. This is compared to nearly 4 per 1,000 in Germany and Switzerland.
Medicine is simply no longer the profession that it once was. In 1970, the average income of general practitioners was $185,000 (in 2014 dollars). Today, even though doctors now see nearly twice as many patients as they did back then, average physician income has fallen to just $161,000. At the same time, the average medical-school graduate now begins his career with more than $170,000 in debt.
Obamacare will squeeze physician incomes still further.
Existing government programs already reimburse physicians at rates that are often less than the actual cost of treating a patient. Estimates suggest that on average physicians are reimbursed at roughly 78 percent of costs in Medicare, and just 70 percent of costs in Medicaid. Physicians generally shift some of those costs to patients who have insurance, raising prices for the rest of us, and lose money on the rest. However, under Obamacare the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is charged with reducing the growth in Medicare spending to no more than 1 percent above GDP growth. While Medicare spending certainly needs to be controlled, restrictions on the IPAB essentially limit its options to further reductions in physician reimbursement. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that if IPAB is to achieve its goal, Medicare will reimburse at a lower rate than Medicaid by 2024. And, by mid century, Medicare will be reimbursing at barely 50 cents on the dollar. After that, playing golf in Florida is going to look pretty good to a number of physicians.
According to a 2013 Deloitte survey, nearly three-quarters of physicians (and 81 percent of specialists) think the best and brightest young people may no longer consider careers in medicine. More than half believe that physicians will retire earlier or scale back practice hours if the future of medicine seems to be changing along the lines described above.
Doctors who remain in practice will increasingly either sign on as employees with large hospital chains or move into “concierge practices,” in which physicians do not accept insurance and limit the number of patients they see. In several states, including California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, surveys indicate that 90 percent of physicians are at least considering concierge medicine.
At the same time that Obamacare is reducing the supply of physicians, it is also increasing the demand for their services. More insurance coverage will mean more people will see doctors. While this is good news for those who need treatment and might have forgone care if they were uninsured, it means more unnecessary visits as well. One doesn’t have to be an economic genius to realize that increasing demand while decreasing supply is likely to cause a problem.
In some crucial areas access could be even more at risk. Take, for example, critical emergency care. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, urban and suburban areas have lost a quarter of their hospital emergency departments over the last 20 years. Yet a new study by the Colorado Hospital Association found that emergency-room visits in states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare increased by 5.6 percent year over year — three times as fast as in states that did not expand Medicaid. This follows on the heels of a study in Oregon that found that expanding Medicaid increased emergency-room use by roughly 40 percent. Anyone see a problem?
From the beginning, Obamacare has been premised on the idea that the basic laws of economics do not exist. Unfortunately, the next time we get sick, we are likely to find out that they still do.
— Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.http://www.nationalreview.com/article/387547/obamacare-fewer-doctors-more-demand-michael-tanner
THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 9/16/2014
CA undermines volunteer, entry-level opportunities
The Tea Party Patriots will host both Sandy Bruce and Candy Carlson, runoff candidates for District 2 Supervisor, tonight at 6:30 at the Westside Grange; they will each give a statement and answer questions.
There sure is a lot of news that accumulates over the course of 2 months of vacation-held Daily News issues. Even utilizing the “epageflip” digital version doesn’t allow for the time to grasp many articles’ newsworthiness. So it was that the headline “No More Popping Tags on Main” from July 10 failed to convey a rather blatant lesson on life in the “happy volunteer workers paradise” of California, as well as a larger revelation on the sheer hypocrisy of the counterproductive over-regulation of the private sector. (Hint: this would not happen under the purview of the State of Jefferson.)
There should be some clear lessons for our liberal friends over the inflexibility of labor laws and regulations as applied to service and charitable operations. Whatever happened to the America that French observer Alexis de Tocqueville found in the 1800s? He marveled at the ability, eagerness and effectiveness of private citizens volunteering to organize and marshal themselves into ad hoc groups to resolve problems—meet social needs—without waiting for a governmental entity to tell them what to do.
In the case of the Poor And The Homeless organization, its thrift store served the dual purpose of providing both a cash flow for PATH, as well as opportunities for those struggling to integrate into a productive role in society; they learn basic skills that could serve their move into the mainstream economy. No one should begrudge such groups the wherewithal to fashion a “path” for making such efforts work for all involved. Enter inflexible, mandated labor regulations, rules and bureaucrats whose existence depends on pronouncing and proclaiming what shall be, regardless of practicality and efficaciousness.
There is no more reason for forcing such volunteer-fueled operations to meet the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement minimum wage rules than there is for forcing those same minimum wage rules onto businesses hiring unskilled teenagers whose economic worth is a fraction of what they must be paid. Oh, but that’s a whole different situation, some on the left will say. Well, the way I see it, the institutional left—in the form of advocacy groups, academic institutions, environmental outfits, etc.—depends on the whole “intern” (meaning unpaid) staffing concept. (Maybe PATH should just call them “interns”)
Even groups whose purpose, at least in part, is to agitate and demonstrate for such loony concepts as a “$15 minimum/living wage” have unpaid interns. Graduate students at our predominantly liberal/left-leaning universities instruct students so that tenured, highly-paid professors needn’t actually teach all their classes. A truism oft stated is that if someone will learn to make themselves worth more than they are being paid, they will eventually be paid more than they are worth.
Only a small minority of workers remains in the lowest rungs of the economy their whole lives. It is patently obvious that when minimum wage and other labor laws impose an artificial floor for compensation (that many are not worth), they don’t get the basic skills and habits that help them advance to higher paying positions. Hence, liberal inspired laws designed to artificially compensate entry-level workers have the unintended effect of depriving those same unskilled people of the very skills they need to start to advance in life. All I can say is “good luck” to the volunteers that will now have little or no “path” to gain what they need to reintegrate in a self-supporting way into society.
On another topic, sometimes I really doubt that leftist advocates have the slightest sense of their own hypocritical silliness. Some anonymous (of course) online commenter actually stated that I’ve become “disloyal and unpatriotic” for my “partisan bickering against a freely elected leader of this country…” (I’m wearing my best imitation of Jon Stewart’s funny/mocking face). Does anyone remember when the Democrat left injected lie after lie after lie into the public debate about President George Bush?
Some of those lies were fully intended to undermine our deployed military as well as recruiting efforts here at home. They were the kind of lies that, in WWII, were part of the “Tokyo Rose” and “Axis Sally” propaganda efforts to demoralize our troops and aviators. Does anyone remember “the war is lost” and “the surge has failed” rhetoric? Then the left, faced with legitimate criticism for such irresponsible claims, accused us of “questioning their patriotism,” even when not one Republican ever actually did.
So, I will happily, gleefully throw these words back at such leftist trash-talkers: “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. And we should stand up and say, ‘We are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.’” (A shrill, screaming Hillary Clinton, April 28th, 2003, Hartford, Connecticut) Please spare us your hypocritical double standard, leftists.
James C. Capretta
Obamacare’s defenders are busy declaring victory again. Ezra Klein is touting a new survey of Obamacare benchmark premiums in some regions of the country as evidence that the law is defying the predictions of critics and working to cut costs rather than increase them.
But, as Bob Laszewski notes, the truth about Obamacare implementation is far less rosy than the latest round of cheerleading would indicate.
For starters, the federal and state websites remain largely a dysfunctional mess, although the media isn’t really covering the story anymore. The supposed “fix” that allowed millions of consumers to sign up with plans on the exchanges from December through April really wasn’t much of a fix after all. It was a workaround, allowing consumers to access large federal subsidies with minimal verification.
It turns out to be pretty easy to sign up millions of beneficiaries for federal assistance online if the government isn’t interested in making sure the payments are accurate. The quite predictable consequence of using unverified information to provide federal assistance is that millions of the supposed signups are by people who are either ineligible because they are not in the country legally, or are being paid the wrong subsidy amounts because their actual household income (based on government data) is different from what they reported. In Florida alone, nearly 100,000 people may soon be kicked off of their health insurance plan because they lack proof of legal status. Millions more may be forced to pay back large subsidy payments when they file their income taxes next year.
Further, the so-called “back-end” of the website still hasn’t been built, and there’s no sign it will be in time for the second open enrollment period, which begins November 15. The back-end is the part of the application process that is supposed to automatically send verified subsidy payments from the U.S. treasury to the insurance plans that are signing up new customers on the exchanges. The whole point of the online enrollment system is to establish an integrated eligibility and payment system that minimizes errors and wasted taxpayer funds. But because it is still not working, the government has been relying on yet another “honor system” to make the actual payments. The insurers are submitting monthly invoices to the federal government of the total subsidy amounts they think they are owed, and the Obama administration is writing them checks based on the invoices. For those who might worry about giving the for-profit health insurance industry a direct pipeline into the U.S. treasury, the administration says not to worry. It will all be reconciled later with actual, verified enrollment data, whenever the data becomes available from the still unbuilt “back-end.” What could possibly go wrong?
Enrollment in Obamacare plans has also been steadily declining since April because some of those who signed up during open enrollment have since dropped their coverage or stopped paying their premiums. Aetna expects that about 30 percent of those who signed up for coverage from the company under Obamacare during the first open enrollment will drop out of the plans they selected by the end of the year. The implication is that there will be far fewer than the much-touted “8 million” still enrolled in Obamacare plans when December rolls around.
As Laszewski also points out, the premium survey that Klein cites, conducted by researchers for the Kaiser Family Foundation, is only a partial survey, covering just 16 metropolitan areas, so it is far from a conclusive look at nationwide trends. Moreover, it doesn’t really tell us anything about premium trends because they plans it examined are not weighted by enrollment. The government uses the second-lowest premium silver plan to establish federal subsidy payments in various markets and regions of the country, regardless of how small enrollment in that plan might be. Kaiser looked at the second-lowest silver plans in these regions and concluded that the premiums for these plans in 2015 are, on average, slightly below the second-lowest silver plan bids in 2014.
The method for calculating the government’s subsidy is very different in Obamacare compared to the Medicare prescription drug benefit. The 2003 law creating the Medicare drug benefit set the government contribution in each region based on the average premium from all of the bidders, weighted by their current enrollment. This has the effect of stabilizing premiums by giving more emphasis to the bids from the largest and most viable plans.
Using the unweighted second lowest bid to set the federal subsidy in each of the Obamacare markets allows insurers with very low enrollment to shake things up with kamikaze bids. Obamacare further encourages this kind of business strategy by promising to bail out any plan that loses money above a certain threshold (the so-called “risk corridor” provision). So, if you are an insurance plan that is having trouble breaking into a market, what’s there to lose from submitting a very low bid in order to garner more market share? Sure, you will lose a lot of money on every customer, but federal taxpayers will bail you out for most of it. And, with more enrollment from a low bid, you might have greater political leverage to keep the taxpayer support flowing in future years.
It is quite possible that this is the dynamic playing out in the Kaiser premium survey. In 12 of the 16 cities examined, one of the two low-cost silver plans in 2014 is no longer one of the two lowest bidders in 2015. Consequently, the enrollees in these plans could experience higher premium increases than Klein cites because their insurers are losing so much money in the first year that they had to raise premiums substantially in year two, or because the federal subsidy for the plan has fallen due to a kamikaze bid from a competing insurer becomes the new second-lowest silver plan.
Some of the low-bid plans in 2015 may also be utilizing very narrow network physician panels, which would have the effect of forcing many lower income consumers to drop their doctors if they want to stay with the lowest priced plan in a region. That may not be an option for many patients with chronic health conditions for which they already have selected a trusted physician.
So, to get a true picture of what is happening to premiums, it is important to look at what is happening to the premiums charged by plans with sizeable current enrollment, not just the premiums from the upcoming year’s low bidders.
There is one very important takeaway from the Kaiser survey for GOP opponents of Obamacare in the House and Senate: they should make repeal of the risk corridor provision among their highest legislative priorities. As Laszewski's note makes clear, it is one of the most important features of the entire law. Insurance companies are making their bids for 2015 explicitly on the assumption that any losses (quite predictable in some cases) will be covered by federal taxpayers. That’s a fundamental distortion of the marketplace that protects for-profit companies from the consequences of their actions.
Fighting for repeal of the risk corridor provision is also a sure political winner. Who wants to be on the side of bailing out massive, for-profit insurance companies? The saying goes that good policy makes for good politics. That may or may not be true in all cases. It certainly is in this one.James C. Capretta is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.