Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Obamacare: Fewer Doctors, More Demand

Obamacare: Fewer Doctors, More Demand
The trends are not pretty if you’re a physician — or a person who needs medical care.
By Michael Tanner


There’s an old line that environmentalists are “watermelons”—green on the outside, red on the inside. A lot of environmentalists will take great offense if you say this: No no! We like economic growth and capitalism just fine! We just want it to be “sustainable,” whatever that means. And don’t ask for specificity about what “sustainability” means in detail, unless you have a lot of time and a full bottle of hootch handy. Before long you’ll figure out that “sustainable” is just a code word for green things we like, and that it has no rigor whatsoever aside from old-fashioned factor-efficiency, which economists figured out over a century ago at least.
No it doesn't.
No it doesn’t.
But anyway, environmentalists resist being called socialists. But next week Naomi Klein is coming out with a book called This Changes Everything. In case you’ve forgotten your show notes, Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine, a book ragingly popular with the far left that is so far gone into absurd conspiracizing and looney renderings of “neoliberalism” that it makes Lyndon LaRouche look positively staid by comparison.
What is the “this” that “changes everything” in her title? Why climate change, don’t you know? And what does it “change”? Why capitalism, of course. The argument of the book in one sentence is that only overthrowing capitalism can solve climate change. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s how the progressive lefty site CommonDreams described it today: “Forget everything you think you know about global warming. The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism.” For this bit of candor about what we’ve long suspected of the climate campaign, we owe Klein and her followers a debt of thanks. I’m going to send her a bouquet of (sustainably-raised) flowers.
Climate change is just the ultimate in “late capitalism” I guess but what’s really getting late is the odor of this badly decayed Marxism. (Klein still uses the uproariously hilarious term “late capitalism” without a trace of irony in her pre-publications articles.) Talk about trying to sell something past its “use by” date! Wasn’t World War I the crisis that “changed everything”? Then the Great Depression? Then the Cold War? The panic and crash of 2008? “This changes everything,” as G.K. Chesterton probably said somewhere, is the refrain of the lunatic in the asylum who thinks he’s Napoleon. It’s always something.
The book unwittingly reveals that none of this crusading and posturing is about the environment at all. Bill McKibben’s dust jacket blurb gives the game away: “This is the best book about climate change in a very long time—in large part because it’s about much more.” Silly me: I thought it was about greenhouse gas emissions.Thought experiment: if we wave a magic wand, will Klein, McKibben, et al suddenly say, “Oh, I guess capitalism is okay after all”? Anyone want to buy some sustainable swampland in Florida?
It will be interesting to see whether “mainstream” environmental groups will distance themselves from Klein’s book. I intend to ask them about her argument at every opportunity. I expect every kind of weasel excuse imaginable. So I guess I better put in for a large order of free-range, gluten-free, sustainably-raised Green Weenies.

Don's Tuesday Column

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.

The Reality Behind the Latest Pro-Obamacare Spin

The Reality Behind the Latest Pro-Obamacare Spin

Monday, September 15, 2014


Barack Obama’s reluctant venture into war-making is causing heads to explode on the Left. The intellectually consistent are denouncing him as a warmonger and an imperialist, but there aren’t many of those. More typical is the New York Times editorial board, which, like Stalinists in the 1930s, follows the party line unquestioningly. For which it is taken to task by the far-left journal Counterpunch: “Perpetual War is Fine With the New York Times After All.” How can you not enjoy that?
George Orwell
George Orwell

The editorial board of the New York Times has an Orwellian knack for war. Sixteen months ago, when President Obama gave oratorical lip service to ending “perpetual war,” the newspaper quickly touted that end as a democratic necessity. But now — in response to Obama’s speech Wednesday night announcing escalation of war without plausible end — the Times editorial voice is with the endless war program.
Because Obama.
Under the headline “The End of the Perpetual War,” published on May 23, 2013, the Times was vehement, calling a new Obama speech “the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America.” The editorial added: “For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future.”
The Times editorial board was sweeping in its conclusion: “Mr. Obama told the world that the United States must return to a state in which counterterrorism is handled, as it always was before 2001, primarily by law enforcement and the intelligence agencies. That shift is essential to preserving the democratic system and rule of law for which the United States is fighting, and for repairing its badly damaged global image.”
That was before the Democratic Party was about to be crushed in a mid-term election.
But the “essential” shift is now dispensable and forgettable, judging from the New York Times editorial that appeared hours after Obama’s pivotal speech Wednesday night. The newspaper’s editorial board has ditched the concept that the state of perpetual war is unsustainable for democracy.
"Pinch" Sulzberger
“Pinch” Sulzberger
Under the headline “The Attack on ISIS Expands to Syria,” the Times editorial offers only equivocal misgivings without opposition “as President Obama moves the nation back onto a war footing.” Without a fine point on the matter, we are to understand that war must be perpetuated without any foreseeable end.
The concluding paragraph of the New York Times editorial in the Sept. 11, 2014 edition is already historic and tragic. It sums up a liberal style of murmuring reservations while deferring to the essence of U.S. policies for perpetual war: “The American military’s actions in the Middle East has (sic) often fueled Arab anger, even when the United States was spending billions of dollars on beneficial programs, including health and education. Mr. Obama expressed confidence that the plan against ISIS will work and, at the moment, seems aware of the risks he takes.”
Like the vast bulk of the rest of U.S. mass media, when push comes to militaristic shove, the New York Times refuses to make a break from the madness of perpetual war.
Well, no: the Times refuses to make a break from supporting the Obama administration, no matter what head-snapping contradictions that may entail. The Times had no problem denouncing “perpetual war” when we had a Republican president. The only surprising thing in the editorial is a grammatical error that would have resulted in a failing grade when I was in elementary school:
Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 6.30.43 PM
Elitism isn’t what it used to be.



Global warming hysteria, as we wrote yesterday, is not science. The models on which it rests are known to be wrong, since they are refuted by observation. So why, then, does climate change hype persist?
Because a great deal of money depends on it. The purpose of global warming hysteria is to bamboozle voters into transferring vast amounts of wealth and power from the private sector to the government. This will be done via a carbon tax and regulations on, or prohibitions of, fossil fuels; but the scheme goes much deeper than that. Since virtually every human activity (including breathing) generates some quantity of carbon dioxide, global warming is an excuse to regulate pretty much everything, conferring unprecedented power on the federal government. Further, global warming justifies vast federal subsidies of “green” energy scams. The Democrats, in turn, are rewarded for those subsidies by enormous political contributions by the likes of Tom Steyer.
The Science and Environmental Policy Project reveals the tip of the iceberg, at least:
In August 2013, the White House reported in FY 2013, US expenditures on Clean Energy Technologies were $5.783 billion, Energy Tax Provisions That May Reduce Greenhouse Gases were $4.999 billion, and Energy Payments in Lieu of Tax Provisions were $8.080 for a total $18.862 billion. Such expenditures created a sustained green lobby for climate change.
That is $19 billion per year. But again, that is only the beginning of the story: it doesn’t count the vast sums that would be involved in a carbon tax, or the selective suppression of the economy through regulation that climate hysteria enables.
Still, the $19 billion figure is striking. How does it compare with what the federal government spends on actual human health issues: SEPP provides the numbers:
For FY 2013, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported its expenditures on cancer research were $5.274 billion and expenditures on all categories of clinical research were $10.604 billion. Government expenditures on alternative energy sources were 78% greater than NIH expenditures on all categories of clinical research on known threats to human health. The fear of climate change has distorted spending priorities in the Federal government.
Only they aren’t distorted if you are a Democrat eager to expand the scope of government, and to assure a steady stream of hundreds of millions of dollars into Democratic Party coffers.

A Bold and Optimistic GOP Can Create a Wave Election

A Bold and Optimistic GOP Can Create a Wave Election 
It must present a true governing agenda. 

If the Republican party adopts a clear, optimistic, growth-and-reform message to turn America around, it can win big in November. It could still be a wave election.
But so far it hasn’t done it. The party is essentially asking voters to give it control of both houses of Congress. Yet it hasn’t told voters what it would do with such a mandate.
That’s why the GOP must present a true governing agenda. You can’t ask for two-house support without telling voters what you’re going to do with it.
Right now, according to polling averages from RealClearPolitics, there are ten key midterm Senate races that are too close to call. These ten toss-ups will determine whether the GOP has a significant majority, or a majority at all.
But there will be no wave election unless the GOP has a clear message. In some cases there are specific bills to get behind. But in most cases the party needs to provide a real future vision.
This is not a new thought. In recent weeks, National Review, the Wall Street Journal, and Investor’s Business Daily have called for a GOP agenda. IBD wants a new Contract with America. The WSJ asks, “Republicans for what?” NR editors say, “Republicans, make your case.” I see my friend Ramesh Ponnuru, NR senior editor, has written an article about this. And I asked over a month ago, “Where’s the GOP’s better deal?”
Obama and the Democrats have already begun their usual class-warfare attacks on corporations, banks, and successful entrepreneurs. “Close their loopholes! Tax them more, so we have enough new money to enlarge government programs!”
This leftist approach has failed. And voters know this. But the GOP must call Democrats out on this. It must fight them with a different vision. The country is ready for it. Voters are ready for an alternative governing agenda.  
Now, within the Republican ranks, there are strong voices with good plans. The GOP leadership should tune in.
Ohio senator Rob Portman is calling for common-sense health-care solutions, including health savings accounts. He wants an energy program that approves the Keystone XL pipeline and opens up federal lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. He urges tax reform, both individual and corporate, to spur economic growth. He’d stop the EPA from over-regulating greenhouse gases and destroying the coal industry. And he calls for education choice that allows parents to use federal dollars to send their kids to the schools they want.
Senators Mike Lee and Marco Rubio have put serious policy papers on the table. And Representative Paul Ryan has a new anti-poverty agenda that would provide a real Republican makeover, and he’s keeping up the fight against corporate welfare and crony capitalism.
The venerable George Schulz published a plan to get America moving again. It talks about tax reform, regulatory rollbacks, a Federal Reserve monetary rule, and much stronger defense. And former senator Phil Gramm echoes a plan set forth by fiscal expert Avik Roy, in which the Obamacare exchanges are turned into free-market platforms without any federal mandates.
And numerous Republicans in both houses favor immigration reform, as long as it emphasizes border security, and then moves to work permits, increased visas, and conditional legalization.
These are all good ideas, and there are plenty more. But so far the Republican leadership is playing small ball.
Yes, they talk about the Keystone pipeline. And they want accelerated rules for overseas trade, faster federal reviews of natural-gas exports, and repeal of Obamacare’s medical-device tax. Fine. But they need visionary priorities and a true national agenda.
It doesn’t have to be a 75-page policy-wonk booklet. But there needs to be something concrete.
Senator Ron Johnson frets that the permanent political consulting class is using this as a “rejection election.” In other words: “We’re not Obama.” But that’s a risky approach. It’s like using a prevent defense in football. It could backfire.
Just look at the congressional polling data. Democrats have higher approvals than Republicans. And so does President Obama, even with his rock-bottom national approval ratings.
My advice? Be bold, Republicans. Send the voters a vibrant message. Show them the GOP is a change agent.
And finally, heed the words of the brilliant Seth Lipsky, who believes optimismis the missing element in today’s politics. “The GOP today has the policy chops,” he writes, “but nailing the optimism is key.”
Republicans were far too pessimistic in the 2012 election. That’s one reason why they lost.
State the problems. Then advance the solutions. The country has been in a funk for too long. Our weakness at home is translating to weakness abroad. But this can be changed, and rapidly.  
If the GOP sends a clear, positive, and optimistic message, it can turn this election into a landslide.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Senate report details how EPA officials divert millions of tax dollars to activist groups (DP: from a month ago but new to me)

Senate report details how EPA officials divert millions of tax dollars to activist groups


Are tax dollars being channeled through the Environmental Protection Agency to Democratic activists working in the nonprofit sector?
A comprehensive new report released Wednesday by the Republican staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee makes clear that the answer to that question is yes. The report is entitled"The chain of environmental command."
Major mainstream media which generally parrot the perspectives and analyses of the environmental movement have utterly ignored the report.
This isn't news?
One would think that millions of tax dollars being directed by government officials with significant conflicts of interest would be significant news at the New York Times and the Washington Post.
But searches on both of those websites turned up zero coverage of the report, which was produced under the direction of Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the committee's ranking minority member.
Here are just four of the conclusions described in the report's executive summary regarding government funding of environmental nonprofits:
• Former far-left environmentalists working at EPA funnel government money through grants to their former employers and colleagues, often contributing to the bottom line of environmental activist groups.
• Under President Obama, EPA has given more than $27 million in taxpayer-funded grants to major environmental groups. Notably, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund – two key activists groups with significant ties to senior EPA officials – have collected more than $1 million in funding each.
• EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck appears to be inappropriately and personally involved in the allocation of EPA grants to favored groups. Enck is also the subject of an inquiry led by the EPA Office of Inspector General.
• EPA also gives grants to lesser-known extreme groups. For example, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade received hundreds of thousands of grants under former Administrator Lisa Jackson despite challenges by state regulators over the use of such grants.
It wasn't that long ago that MSM silence could disappear an important government report, but thanks to the Internet, that's no longer the case.
This report isn't going away any time soon and it almost certainly will be the impetus for legislative action and a great deal of public debate.

Advice to GOP Candidates: No Coasting to Victory This Year

Advice to GOP Candidates: No Coasting to Victory This YearBy Clark S. Judge: Managing Director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute
In today’s Wall Street Journal (http://bit.ly/WSJToday), I offer advice to this year’s Republican candidates, particularly candidates for the U.S. Senate.
I urge them to remember that, though voters might be alarmed at the president’s performance, they aren’t that wild about the GOP either. Republicans can’t coast. Like the money of that brokerage house in the old commercial, they will have to earn victory the old fashioned way. They must earn it. They will have to tell voters what they want to do in office, not just how the other team has messed up.
Despite the drumbeat of pundits, I have not been all that impressed with the weakness of the president’s polling numbers. Yes, his approval ratings are low. But they are higher than George W. Bush’s at this stage of his presidency and about at the bottom of the president’s range during his first term. According to Rasmussen daily tracking, 46 percent of voters currently approve of Mr. Obama’s performance in office, 53 percent disapprove. At this time in 2012, those numbers were 46 percent versus 54 percent. Please note that the president won that election.
The media has been pummeling the White House for months now about how the president is always on his way to another fundraiser. And it does seem that that he is always departing on another political trip immediately after another appalling statement about another alarming crisis related to another disturbing collapse of his clueless, feckless foreign and national security strategy policies. As I say in this morning’s article, a relevant question this year is, “Are you safer now than you were six years ago?”
But Mr. Obama could be 60 days away from being hailed for his brilliance, focus and discipline. Since his 2012 reelection, his top priority has been to hold the Senate in 2014. Given that his polling hasn’t been much different in the last 12 months than it was in 2010 (meaning his stumping with them will probably hurt most Democratic candidates), the biggest boost Mr. Obama and his team can give their party has been through fundraising. Now think of the time the president has spent on fundraising this past year and a half, or Harry Reid’s bizarre war on the Koch brothers (which party strategists acknowledge is intended to motivate their big donors), or reports of mega-wealthy liberal donors meeting in Chicago in April resolving to spend “hundreds of millions” on the elections. Think even of the president’s much-derided visits to the golf course. Who has been in his foursomes? What did they pay for the honor?
To me all this says that all that Citizens United rhetoric out of the White House was just a way to distract reports from catching on to how they intended to make maximum use of the High Court ruling. By now, the Democrats may be in a position to swamp the 2014 campaign with dollars, drowning out any but the sharpest, clearest Republican message.
In working on the Wall Street Journal article, the most stunning data I found about the state of our economy came from the Economic Policy Institute. The chairman of the EPI’s board is the president of the AFL-CIO. The board is composed mostly of labor union presidents and academics. A couple of Clinton cabinet alumni sit on it, too. In other words, this organization should be friendly to the administration.
But apparently they didn’t get the memo that all economic data must be presented in a manner that reflects well on the administration. For in a report (http://bit.ly/EPIStudy) titled, “The Class of 2014: The Weak Economy is Idling Too Many Young Graduates”, the EPI finds that: “For young college graduates, the unemployment rate is currently 8.5 percent (compared with 5.5 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 16.8 percent (compared with 9.6 percent in 2007). For young high school graduates, the unemployment rate is 22.9 percent (compared with 15.9 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 41.5 percent (compared with 26.8 percent in 2007).”
In other words, combining the unemployment and underemployment numbers, for young college graduates, the total of this new misery index is 25.3 percent. For those with only a high school degree, it is 63.4 percent. For African-American and non-white Hispanic young people, it is “substantially higher.”
This is stunning and alarming data, suggesting lost lives and social turmoil to come. It is directly tied to the collapse of new business creation and growth under the tax, regulate, undermine-the-rule-of-law regime of the last five years. Obamacare is a factor, too. It put additional loads on new and expanding businesses, even as it all but mandated a 30-hour workweek for large categories of jobs. And don’t forget the ratcheting down of credit under Dodd-Frank and recent global banking rules. Now the financial regulators want to lock even asset managers – a relatively unencumbered source of capital — in that pit-and-the-pendulum room.
But as I say, the GOP should not assume it can coast to victory. It is a long, long way from Labor Day to November, and the days are growing short. Being “not the other guys” won’t cut it. Voters will want to know, “What’s in your wallet of solutions?” GOP candidates had better have an answer.


Today’s jobs report was disappointing–only 142,000 jobs added, well below analysts’ expectations; 60,000 workers left the labor force; June and July payroll estimates were revised downward; and 12% are either unemployed, or working part-time while seeking full-time employment. All of which raises, once again, the question why anyone would consider it a good idea to import tens of millions of new, unskilled and semi-skilled workers to compete with Americans who already are struggling to find work, or grant amnesty to those who are now here illegally.
Public opinion has turned decisively against such immigration “reform,” which is why Democrats running for election this year are urging President Obama not to issue an executive order on immigration before November:
More top Democrats are pressuring President Barack Obama to slow down on immigration reform, further diminishing the chances that he’ll take sweeping administrative action before Election Day. …
Until now, few Democrats have been willing to break publicly with Obama over his vow to issue an executive order on immigration. Democratic incumbents in this year’s most competitive Senate races have already voiced concern, but the calls from others to hold off on acting suggests Democrats are growing even more anxious about the decision and its potential to upend the fight for control of the Senate.
Hardly anyone doubts, however, that once the election is over, Obama will issue some sort of executive order that will increase competition for scarce jobs and tend to drive wages down.
Dick Morris reminds us of some of the history of open borders advocacy:
The working people of America intuit that their lack of wage growth and employment opportunity is directly linked to the flood of people coming in across the border. And nothing could be clearer in our current politics than the fact that the Democratic Party of Barack Obama wants the inundation to continue, whereas Republicans want it to stop.
It was not always so. In first half of the 20th century, it was the GOP that wanted open borders, the more easily to recruit a low-wage work force and hold down the wages of American workers. Still dimly aware that they represent workers, not the Democratic Party, some labor unions persist in calling for immigration restrictions.
But the lure of ethnic voting has made open borders enticing to the leadership of the Democratic Party, as well as the rapid ascension to voting citizenship of those who arrive.
Yet Republicans are not betraying their heritage in opposing open borders. Rather, they are tapping into the intellectual legacy of Abraham Lincoln, who opposed the Jeffersonian vision of a nation of yeomen farmers, aristocrats and slaves. The wage system, Lincoln argued, was the only way for the working class to advance above subsistence farming. How were workers to secure decent wages, he would ask, when slaves could be coerced to work for free?
So, again, we have the phenomenon of elitist “limousine liberals” arguing for open borders, while workers absorb the brunt of the impact.
Wage stagnation is a winning issue for Republicans. The solution is 1) economic growth, and 2) don’t make the situation worse by importing millions of new low-wage workers.