by Linda Szugyi

So I’m finally getting around to reading a book my dad gave me awhile back. The Land That Never Was is a nonfiction account of a self-aggrandizing Scot who, in the 1820s, swindled large numbers of people out of large amounts of money by inventing an imaginary Central American nation and appointing himself ruler of it.

Some people merely invested in loans backed by fictitious national holdings.  Others traded their life savings for phony currency and phony land grants, boarded ships bound for this phony utopia, and wound up stranded in the untamed jungles of the Mosquito Coast.

Good times, I’m sure.

But that’s not why I’m writing.

The subtitle of this book is “Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Most Audacious Fraud in History.”  While this claim may have been true when the book was published in 2003, it may now be superseded in both audaciousness and deceit with the passage of Obamacare.

But that’s not why I’m writing, either.

I’m writing because the author of this book, David Sinclair, incidentally provided some history of Simón Bolívar, a famous figure in the South American struggle to gain independence from Spain.  (Please enjoy the proper accent marks from the “insert custom character” feature.  I won’t be bothering with that again.)

Normally, I would have paid little attention to the information on Simon Bolivar, and probably would have forgotten most of it as soon as I finished the book.  Because normally, the name would be completely unfamiliar to me.  Simon Bolivar would have been one of many characters that played a part in the story of Gregor MacGregor (whose name I would have remembered, because dang what an awesome Scottish name).

However, in addition to the hobby of reading, or at least vainly attempting to read, books that my dad recommends, I also have the hobby of reading and then heaping scorn upon textbooks that children are forced to study in school.  Thanks to the latter hobby, the name Simon Bolivar is familiar to me:  he was one of the historical figures featured in a recurring sidenote, “Character Trait,” in the Harcourt social studies textbook People, Places, and Change.

In the post History Matters, I discussed the “Character Trait” treatment of George Washington in the very same textbook.  Of all the things for which to remember the Father of our Country, the authors and editors of this dog’s hash of a textbook chose “citizenship.”  Because . . . well, I can only conclude that it was the least flattering yet most benign trait they could come up with.

Do you know what would have been a great character trait to assign George Washington?  Integrity:

17th September, 1796 Farewell Address:  “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I consider the most enviable of all titles) the character of an ‘Honest Man.'”

The authors and editors decided instead to reserve the trait “integrity” for none other than Simon Bolivar.  At the time I read it, the name meant nothing to me.  Yet, the description of this dude as the “George Washington of South America” naturally rose my hackles a bit, first because I knew they had screwed GW out of the “integrity” label, and second because I am wary whenever some multicultural figure is casually equated with America’s founders.

Then I started reading about Simon Bolivar in The Land That Never Was, and my wariness became well-founded.  According to David Sinclair, Simon Bolivar saw himself not as the South American George Washington, but as the South American Napoleon, “to the extent that he would even stand in the famous pose of the French Emperor, with his right hand tucked inside his tunic . . . .” (The Land That Never Was, pg. 144)

Now, my subsequent internet research (which ate half my Sunday right up, by the way) did not produce a simple picture of the man who was Simon Bolivar.  My point is not to demonize him, nor minimize his importance.

My point is to heap scorn upon our education textbook industry.  Not only do they over-simplify the rich and complex stories of nations in a way that makes all of them interchangeable and therefore virtually meaningless, they can’t even get the basic facts right.

To wit:

IMG_5784

“In 1811, Bolivar first freed his native Venezuela.”

Um, no he didn’t.

It may or may not be fair to coin Simon Bolivar the “George Washington of South America.”  The comparison was made early.  George Washington’s family even sent Bolivar a medallion with a lock of George Washington’s hair inside.  On the one hand, he emancipated slaves, and he spoke passionately about freedom, and he fought passionately to free his native land from Spanish rule.

On the other hand, his authoritarian inclinations led him to draft a constitution that created a lifetime president and a highly restricted suffrage.  Also, he once wrote “I am convinced, to the very marrow of my bones, that our America can only be ruled through a well-managed, shrewd despotism.

It may or may not be accurate to say that Simon Bolivar embodied the trait of integrity.

But it is definitely not accurate to say that Simon Bolivar freed Venezuela in 1811.  According to The Land That Never Was, Bolivar gave an important speech in favor of Venezuelan independence in 1811.  (pg. 142)  He joined the military effort to oust Spain months later, and promptly suffered a crushing defeat at Puerto Cabello that was so bad he wrote, “my soul is crushed to such an extent that I do not feel able to command a single infantryman. . . .” (pg. 142)

Hey, folks at Harcourt.  The first attempt at independence in 1811 failed.  Spanish troops reconquered the colony.  The Spanish weren’t beaten until 1821, and Venezuela as an autonomous nation wasn’t founded until 1829.

Just, you know, technically speaking.  Not that history really matters to a post-American world.

I’m actually going to add a short bio to this week’s post.  I never did identify with modern liberalism, possibly thanks to my middle school social studies teacher who was so mean and also so biased that she told us liberals were generous and conservatives were stingy.  I knew anything she said couldn’t possibly be right.  I write at No One Of Any Import, and if you’ll just subscribe and be patient I’ll write something very entertaining there soon.

By:  Pat Austin

It has not been a particularly good week to be Mary Landrieu.  Two statewide polls have found that the incumbent Senator is running behind challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.

Hickman Analytics has Cassidy up 46-42 while earlier this year Rasmussen conducted a poll and found Landrieu trailing Cassidy 44-40.

Rabid Democrat and NOLA contributor Robert Mann suggests in a column this week that Landrieu may lose her election, but it won’t be because of her Obamacare vote.  Obamacare, he brightly contends, “is working”!  In fact, he says, Democratic candidates should campaign full throttle on Obamacare!

 

Wonderful advice, I think:

Perhaps one lesson for Landrieu and other Democrats is that they must effectively and aggressively champion the health care law to the party’s base, not just meekly defend it

Absolutely excellent advice. I hope all the Democrats across the nation campaign on Obamacare.  Really, I think that would work out very well.

Voters in Louisiana are tired of Katrina Mary and her Obamacare kickback.  Louisiana Purchase Mary had a backroom deal in the Obamacare vote in which she was bought for $300 million in Medicaid funding and also got national Democratic support for her brother’s mayoral campaign.  Mitch Landrieu won his mayoral race in February with 64% of the vote.

Mary Landrieu has won three Senate elections in Louisiana; she’s been there since 1997, which is quite long enough, I think.  While she does have serious name recognition in Louisiana I think that this time that won’t work in her favor.  Rep. Cassidy is the first real serious challenger for Landrieu.  As Brian Hughes at the Washington Examiner points out, Landrieu has always had weak opponents and has still managed to barely squeak out wins.

After her Obamacare vote her poll numbers plummeted.  Despite Bob Mann’s head-in-the-sand perspective (“The very idea that Obamacare is unpopular is wrong,” he says!)  Louisiana voters in the majority dislike the monstrous bill and many of us recognized early on that it was doomed to failure because of its overreach into our lives and because of the lies around which is was sold (“You can keep your doctor!).  Really, who ever believed that one?

All that being said, Landrieu will not go without a fight.  She has taken out lots of ad time and will have much nationwide Democratic support (translate: dollars) behind her.  Rep. Cassidy will need financial support and a good turnout to defeat her.

But, I think it can be done.  It’s time for Landrieu to consider retirement.  I’m sure Obama will have a nice ambassador job for her somewhere.

 

Pat Austin also blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Florida Palm TreesBy John Ruberry

Tuesday is primary election day in Illinois and most of the drama is on the Republican side. The winner of the GOP gubernatorial race stands a very good chance of defeating unpopular Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn.

The US Senate race until recently hasn’t been attracting much attention in the Land of Lincoln. Competing for the opportunity to face longtime incumbent Dick Durbin  are Doug Truax and Jim Oberweis.

Truax, 43, is a political newcomer who is a West Point and an Army Ranger School graduate. He runs his own healthcare consulting business. Oberweis, 67, has been serving as a state senator for a year. He enjoys terrific name recognition, his Oberweis Dairy stores can be found throughout the Chicago area.

This is the seventh time Oberweis has run for office in twelve years–and his third time running for the US Senate. “Obi” has competed for governor and twice for the US House–and after spending $10 million of his own money on these contests, he can only look at his state Senate run as a victory. Oberweis is known for his gaffes and his overall sloppy campaign style. He’s Joe Biden with a full head of hair.

Oberweis is concluding his worst campaign effort yet. Last week NBC 5 Chicago’s MaryAnn Ahern discovered that a little more than a week before the primary, Oberweis, who has been ducking debate challenges from Truax, was at his second home in southwestern Florida. When Ahern contacted Oberweis by telephone, he refused to reveal his location to her.

I can’t imagine even Dick Durbin stooping that low.

Morton Grove, IL on Wednesday
Morton Grove, IL on Wednesday

Oberweis and his wife claim their Florida home as a homestead exemption, gaining a $50,000 tax credit. If they used their Sugar Grove, Illinois home for the same purpose, they’d get only a $6,000 break. Oberweis’ wife has a Florida driver’s license and is registered to vote in the Sunshine State. She won’t be voting for her husband on Tuesday.

As for the Florida trip, Obi claimed that he promised his wife that he’d spend her birthday with her. Of course the Oberweises could have done that in Illinois, which got hit with another snowstorm while they were walking among the palm trees.

Prior to the Florida trip and its fallout, the better-known Oberweis enjoyed a huge lead in the polls. But should the political gadfly win, Durbin will certainly hand him his next defeat. If Truax pulls ahead and beats Oberweis, he still faces an uphill challenge. Maybe even an up-mountain challenge. But if 2014 turns into a wave election, as the American Thinker’s Richard Baehr muses, Truax can score an upset.

Durbin, 69, is just sort of there. He has never been well-liked even in this Democratic state. For nearly his entire adult life Durbin has been a politician, or worked for a politician. Durbin, the second-ranking senator in the Democratic caucus, never votes against the party line.

Professional pols have destroyed Illinois–which has the lowest credit rating of the states and suffers from an unemployment rate much higher than the national rate. The Prairie State has the most-underfunded public pension system of the 50 states.

Illinois just might vote for real change.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Sunday a new week and I hate to start it on a down note but we’ve now had three straight weeks without making our goal.

Without 15 $25 tip jar hits we will have no prospect of making mortgage this month.

I’m going to bluntly say I need you to hit this tip jar if you if this experiment is going to succeed.

Your call.

 

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I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below.  If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better.  A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

By Steve Eggleston

Yesterday, the Commerce Department announced that, effective October 2015, it would end its long-standing oversight contract with Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) regarding the administration of the Internet Assisgned Numbers Authority (IANA).

A bit of explanation of what exactly the IANA entails is necessary before evaluating the consequences of the US giving up oversight of it. The biggest part is the administration of the root Domain Name System, which is a system of 13 mirrored servers which tells a computer where to find the authoritative name servers associated with the top-level domains, e.g. .com, .gov, .uk and .biz. That necessarily entails controlling what those top-level domains are.

It also entails controlling which regions of the world get what blocks of Internet Protocol addresses. Even though all of the IPv4 addresses have been allocated to the 5 Regional Internet Registries, there are still a lot of IPv6 addresses to dole out.

There are concerns this control would devolve to either the United Nations or an entity openly hostile to the United States, opening the door to a global Internet tax or an intentional shutdown of the Internet. Let’s take each of those in turn.

Even though this move is being sold as a continuation of a decades-long policy of “privatizing” the Internet, that does not pass the smell test. ICANN is already a private enterprise, and government types abhor a regulatory vacuum. With the US stepping out, the logical entity to step in is the United Nations. Indeed, ICANN is already looking at opening an office in Geneva, Switzerland, which hosts the second-largest UN presence behind only New York City and specifically the likely UN agency to absorb it, the International Telecommunication Union.

Similarly, ICANN does already get a cut of every domain, so in effect, it already has a tax on the Internet. The reason it isn’t a “tax” is ICANN is a private entity.

The shutdown threat is not merely a theoretical one. Back in the early 2000s, ICANN shut down Free Republic’s entry in the DNS for several days after someone discovered a single out-of-date entry in its WHOIS information, with no attempt by ICANN to contact the Robinsons, the owners of Free Republic via any of the other, valid, points of contact prior to shutdown.

By Pastor George Kelly

The time period of 1981 through 1991 was a time of breath taking change.

In the United States, former Governor Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States.  The newly elected President beat former President Carter in the 1980 election in a 44 to 6 state rout.  Many political observers felt that Governor Reagan was too old, too extreme, and too outdated to be elected President.

In London, England, the leader of The Conservative Party Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – affectionately referred to by her admirers as “The Iron Lady” was working at reversing nearly 35 years of British “Fabian-Socialism.”

And in the Vatican Pope John-Paul II was inspiring a new generation of Roman Catholics to enthusiastically embrace their faith that is forever constant but always changing.

These three leaders President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher and Pope John-Paul II arrived on the world scene within 4 years of each other (1978-1981).  When these three powerful statesmen / stateswoman began their leadership tenures the world was in grave turmoil (sound familiar?).

Yet a look at how these three magisterial leaders conducted themselves may give those of us who live today a unique lens in which to view the crises in which we face today.

In Great Britain, the “Iron Lady” inherited a nation in which both the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the country’s former world standing were only a shadow of their former greatness.  England’s economic output was only a fraction of what was produced by both West German and Japan.

When Pope John-Paul II arrived at the Vatican, much of the Roman Catholic faithful were enslaved in Europe under the aegis of Soviet sponsored communism. Furthermore, “liberation theology” (Catholic theology with Marxist overtones) was gaining strength in Latin America.

It appeared that all three of these leaders faced intractable odds as they worked to reverse the downward spirals that they inherited within their nations – and in the case of Paul John-Paul II his faith community.

Yet a funny thing happened.

These three leaders went back to “first principles” as they endeavored to bring about a renewal and re-launch in the spheres of influence in which they resided.

Over the next few weeks, this journalist will take a look at what each leader did to invigorate and inspire their peoples.  This week we will look at President Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Mr. Reagan entered the White House in January 1981 as the oldest man to ever enter the Oval office.  President Reagan was 69 years of age.  The nation that the new president inherited was in an absolute mess.  Inflation had reached a high level of 13.3% and the unemployment rate was 8%; the Prime Interest Rate was a whopping 18%! Furthermore, the United States experienced debacles in both Vietnam (58,000 deaths) and Watergate (President Nixon resigned in disgrace).  Communist aggression seemed to be moving inexorably in the Middle East.

The morale of the American people was at an all time low.

The first thing that the newly elected President did was refocus his nation’s attention away from the perceived problems of big and ineffective government and to look at the time-honored institutions that had made America great – family, faith, free markets, safe neighborhoods, and national unity (projected strength of purpose in International affairs). 

President Reagan agreed with conservatives, libertarians, sociologists and theologians who believed that “bigger and greater” governmental intrusion into the lives of Americans imperiled personal freedom and thwarted the “creative genius” of Americans to innovate and solve their own problems.

Perhaps this is the problem with the current Obama Administration?  Perhaps when President Obama aspired to bring “Hope and Change” he reached too far in his belief that The Federal Government should arbitrate fairness in both the business and private sectors…

The founding fathers of this republic set up this nation as an experiment in ordered liberty.

The powers of the Federal Government were few and the unenumerated rights were left to the American people and to the respective States (9th and 10th Amendments).

The genius of President Reagan was that he articulated a bold Vision that inspired the American people to forgo their collective amnesia of the malaise of the current past and to pursue a renewed Vision based on both the principles and history of The Republic that enabled America to rise from 13 disparate colonies to become a nation recognized as a beacon of freedom around the globe.

 

By A.P. Dillon

My fellow Magnificent 7 writer, Linda Szugyi, started the week at Da Tech Guy with an article called Peas in a pod which briefly talked about how spam filters have saved all of our inboxes from blowing up and then moved into one that didn’t get caught in the spam filter: An Obamacare advertisement.

The Peas in a pod article goes on to talk about how the ad is a scam and well, so is Obamacare. This is the perfect segue for my article today, which is about yet another Obamacare scam problem. That problem is job changes, tax implications and how Obamacare and the IRS handle that. Or rather, how the IRS and Obamacare don’t handle it.

Reader Tim Wohlford emailed me with his story and I now present it to you. Wohlford is a North Carolina citizen who described himself to me as having sold health insurance at one time and “Donated a total of $1 in my lifetime to the GOP, but did contribute in the MI-7 Congressional race to defeat a Dem who voted for ACA.” Wohlford is from Morrisville, North Carolina — a suburb of the Research Triangle Park area near Raleigh.

Wohlford has an op-ed he shared with me that is posted at HPE.com where he describes the hole in coverage that is likely afflicting many people like himself. The letter is short, so I am posting it here in full with his permission. Emphasis added is mine:

One of the biggest reasons why people don’t have health insurance is due to job change. Either the person loses coverage because they are recently unemployed, or they’re waiting for the new coverage to kick in. Around 30 percent of the estimated 45 million uninsured are in this situation. So, you’d think that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would’ve taken great pains to address this situation. Sadly, it made matters far worse.
The official program for recently terminated employees to keep their coverage is called “COBRA.” However, many COBRA bills are for $400/month or more, and let’s face it — if you’re suddenly living off of unemployment insurance, you’re not likely to make COBRA payments.
Under the ACA, the unemployed supposedly can buy an individual plan through the individual Healthcare Exchange. If they qualify, they get a “tax credit” (subsidy) for most or all of the cost of a Bronze Plan. At least, that’s the plan.
In my case, a Bronze Plan costs $387/month. The subsidy to pay for that is based either on what I made while I was working, or what I claim I’m gonna make in 2014, NOT on what I’m making right now — which is zero since my unemployment ran out. I made a good living in 2012 (the year they ask about), and I don’t anticipate being unemployed most of 2014 either.  Since I made more than $46,000 in 2012, and anticipate making at least that much in 2014, I get no subsidy. And of course, I can’t afford the $387/month.
I could just “play the game” (aka “lie”) and say that I’m only gonna make $11,500 in 2014, and get the full tax credit so I can afford the coverage. This is what my friends who are loyal ACA fans tell me I would do if I was “smart.”
However, if one earns more than what they forecast, the IRS will come back for the subsidy. In my case, if I did what my friends suggest I’d probably owe around $5,000 in 2015. This situation is kinda like wetting the bed: One problem was solved, but a bigger one was created that demands attention and is pretty messy.
I used to have a better option.

Before ACA I could buy a catastrophic plan for $89/month. Now, for people my age, such plans are “illegal” under ACA. Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC (BCBS-NC) wouldn’t let me keep my plan after December 31. (I did find a “temporary” plan that isn’t ACA-legal these days, but it costs 50 percent more, covers less than the old plan, and only lasts a few months.)
Let me restate my point more pointedly to the ACA apologists:  It wouldn’t have taken much thought to fix this problem. So I have to ask — was this just stupidity, or is there some reason why 30 percent of the uninsured were forgotten in the ACA? And most importantly, when are you gonna fix it?

Shorter: I can get coverage I can afford if I lie.

Wohlford and I had an email conversation about this article he wrote. These are some of  his initial comments to me that were not included in his article but need to be pointed out:

When you’re unemployed, COBRA is supposed to take care of your health insurance.  But let’s be honest, precious few people can afford COBRA payments while unemployed.

The alternative under ACA is to get a Bronze plan.  However, this has several problems:

1.  You start your deductible all over again (something I didn’t mention in that Letter to the Editor)

2.  The subsidy is based on what you made while working, or what you project to make (which assumes you’re gonna be working again?).  So most people won’t qualify for a subsidy.

3.  If you “play the game” (aka “lie”) to get a subsidy so you can afford health insurance, you’re on the hook to pay it all back the following April 15.  In a worst-case scenario, this might be as much as $5000 in tax liability.  Certainly it isn’t hard to imagine that people will be presented with $1000+ in additional taxes if they simply under-estimate their income.  

Of course, getting a short-term catastrophic policy is no longer an option, no matter what Obama says –BCBS-NC won’t offer me that plan anymore, if for no other reason.

This income tax liability is a huge problem — and from what I hear, Obama knows it.  And so do the Dems.  But they just aren’t talking about it (and let’s face it, it’s not a very sexy story, is it?).

Apparently it’s not very sexy to the media. So wait,  where is the NC media on this? *Crickets*  Local media outlet WRAL didn’t investigate, but instead chose to hold a phone bank and seemingly playing the role of an Obamacare Navigator.

#ICYMI => @WRAL‘s Hard Hitting #Obamacare Navigator Investigation http://t.co/ca1vwq7sIr #ncpol #ncsen #mediabias

— LL1885 – A.P. Dillon (@LadyLiberty1885) March 5, 2014

Also in that email conversation, he expressed a few questions that are probably pertinent, definitely important and in one case, rather pointed with regards to NC Senator Kay Hagan. Those comments are below.

Issues from my point of view:

– Why in the HELL ACA didn’t address the entire unemployed person thing, when (since at least the 1970’s, when I studied health insurance) 1/3 of all uninsured are that way due to job change?  I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out any number of fixes for this one.  It’s like ACA wasn’t meant to solve the issues that were raised or something (ahem)?

– Do people who get “subsidies” know that they’re potentially on the hook for every dime of that “subsidy”?  When you’re broke you simply say “I’ll worry about that tomorrow” but then tomorrow DOES come.  Do people understand that if they get a job, make 1 dime over the max, that they’ll be on the hook for every dime of “subsidy”?  And in fact, are on the hook if they make more than they “guess” they were gonna make when they signed up?  

– I understand that Obama knows about this, and there is some discussion about waving those paybacks.  Is that true?  Let’s get Kay and the rest of the Dems to demand that Barry O give us an answer.  Obviously if he waives those fees during the year he invites massive fraud, so I don’t think he can do this before the election.

– Kay Hagan’s office has been woeful on ACA help.  Then again, her constituent services have always been woeful while in the Senate.  I watched a GOP Senator in Michigan, who had horrible services, get booted out by a Dem who had great constituent services while a state senator.  And in fact the GOP has barely put anyone up against her in the last 2 elections, partially ’cause they themselves get helped by her office!  Kay’s staffer told me to “Call the White House” on one occasion… and “Call the IRS” on another.  No followup, no letter expressing concern, NOTHING beyond that.  I’m saying that this WILL be a factor in the next election.  Kay, and every other Senator — certainly every DEM supporter — should’ve had subject matter experts ready to go when this rolled out. 

All good points and questions. All valid. The comment on Kay Hagan is pretty scathing, but she ducked the President, so it’s clear she has no problem dodging her own state’s citizens.

What Tim is going through here is probably happening to a lot more across NC. So how is the administration dealing with the plethora of problems that are riddled throughout Obamacare? Delay after delay — with no Congressional action of course. The latest round? Purely political move to try to save 2016 since Obama knows 2014 is lost. The individual mandate is now delayed?

Via JoshBlackman.com:

The WSJ reports that the Administration has quietly buried in a PDF (rule by blog post you know) a rule that extends for two years a waiver from the individual mandate for those claiming a hardship exemption (basically health insurance is too expensive because of Obamacare). Is this right?

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.

I was waiting for the individual mandate to be delayed. And this looks like it is it.

In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.”  WOW.  Obamacare is so great, it’s almost nearly totally repealed by the President whose signature law it is. Read the rest.

This seems apt to close with:

It’s starting to dawn on me that Obama has been able to unilaterally waive more of Obamacare than the press ever would have let Romney.

— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) March 12, 2014

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

A.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

by Linda Szugyispam

Thank goodness for spam filters.  All of our in-boxes would be buried without them.

With the spam folder, we have a handy dumping place for all the Rolex replica offers, questionable drug purchasing links, “free stuff or money” scams, loan sharks, online dating invitations, mail order bride proposals, and of course the inevitable links to pornography.  Sometimes a spam email manages to slip through the cracks, but no big deal.  Just click the spam button and poof! the offending dreg of internet society is banished.

Those porn-peddling, phish-scamming, fake-product-pushing dregs have a new cohort, by the way:

spam obamacare

Yep.  The spam filter missed a recent email, entitled “Get FREE Coverage Info – Pre-Existing Conditions OK! Coverage for Unemployed!”  After treating me with a photo of our kind, health insurance-mandating-providing benefactor, the email encouraged me to Click Here To See If You Qualify Now!

Hovering over the “Click Here!” button brought up the name “loreworld.com,” which is literally a blank, white page of nothingness, which I won’t link because I’m not as reckless with your computer as I am with mine.  In spite of the name “loreworld,” clicking the button brought me to a site called CanDoFinance.com, which I am also not linking just in case.  My malware scan came up clean after all this irresponsible internet usage, so I’ve got that going for me at least.

The unnamed ‘P.O. Box’ address at the bottom of the email is the same as this one, selling dental implants, so the spammer probably hawks a wide variety of wares.  I don’t know how spamming actually makes anyone any money, but the idea must be to make it up in volume, which is probably more valid than any of the absurd claims about Obamacare reducing the deficitcreating jobs, and Saving You Money!

So it makes sense to see the president’s face in a spam email, hawking health insurance with the promise of free stuff.  An arm of the administration may reach out and smack the fellow spammers who have the temerity to hijack the president’s own sales pitch, but the truth is, they are peas in a pod.

By:  Pat Austin

Among the many topics covered during CPAC this year has been a good, hard look at Common Core.  Here, on this blog, Lady Liberty does an excellent job covering Common Core topics.  From my point of view, I’m glad to see CPAC and other conservative groups taking a hard look at the monstrosity that is Common Core.

My perspective is that of a classroom teacher; I teach high school English.  While I recognize that the stated intentions behind Common Core are good, I’m not sure I trust the stated intentions.  The oft quoted rationalization behind Common Core is that schools should be teaching the same basic standards across the country:  a kid in Alaska needs to know long-division at the same time a kid in Florida does.  Theoretically this will help kids who move from one school or state to another..

That being said, there’s a whole lot more to Common Core as we all know.  Michelle Malkin has done an excellent job in bringing much of this to light, as has the Heritage Foundation, among others.

My gripe with Common Core at this point is personal.  I resent that it takes all of the decision making out of the hands of the classroom teacher and the local school districts.  Case in point:  for years in tenth grade English I have taught To Kill a Mockingbird.  With the advent of Common Core, TKAM has been bumped down to the ninth grade reading list.  I’m told that “really it’s an eighth grade level book.”  It seems that the Lexile level of To Kill a Mockingbird just isn’t high enough (rigor!) for tenth grade.  Last summer we were given a new reading list from which to choose new novels.  For tenth grade the list is a selection of “world literature” which includes titles such as My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Hosseini, and The Life of Pi by Martell, among others.

Oh, there’s a few classics still there such as The Grapes of Wrath.and Twelve Angry Men.  But, if we’re going to talk about Lexile levels and complex, rigorous text, Twelve Angry Men is not exactly difficult reading.  When I brought up this point, it was suggested that it’s not just the text itself that must be rigorous, but “what you can bring in and do with it.”

Which brings me back to To Kill a Mockingbird.  Why can’t a teacher of any grade level for that matter bring in complex side readings to raise the rigor of any text?  Furthermore, what of the teacher who has a high school class with an average reading level of about fifth grade?  Not that we need to teach down to that, but how frustrated is a kid with a third grade reading level going to be trying to read The Grapes of Wrath or One Hundred Years of Solitude?

As another example, Julius Caesar is not on the reading lists anymore at all.  In tenth grade it’s been replaced with Macbeth (which previously had been grade 12) and the twelfth grade Shakespeare is now Hamlet (which kids will read again in college.)  I’m told this is non-negotiable.  I’m told that Macbeth is more rigorous than Caesar.  Did Shakespeare really sit down and decide to write Macbeth at a higher Lexile level than Caesar?  I’m dumbfounded.

There is an entire generation of kids that will now never know what the ides of March means.

The point of all this is simply that all of this decision making is no longer in the hands of the districts or the schools themselves, not to mention the teacher.  Among the many problems with Common Core, it treats kids as if they are all the same and function on the same level.  Many of the novels are new “touchy feeley” nonsense or are just downright inappropriate as we have seen.

Am I bitter because they’ve ripped my beloved To Kill a Mockingbird from my chalk covered fingers?  You bet I am.  I’ll continue to fight for the American classic until my dying breath.  And I will continue to fight for excellence and high standards in education as well.  But the bottom line in all of this is that the federal government should have no say in the matter.

 

Pat Austin also blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By John Ruberry

Isaac Asimov’s greatest and best-known work was the Foundation series. The plot is centered on the mathematical model created by Professor Hari Seldon–one that can scientifically predict the history of our galaxy. On the surface it appears to be a dry read, but plot twists and intriguing characters make the stories work.

Barack Obama is not a mathematician and he may not even be a reader of science fiction, but he is a believer in psychohistory. Obama all but tells us he knows how the future looks–and what will remain in the past.

Blogger defying the Pacific
Blogger defying the Pacific

Upon his clinching of the Democratic nomination in 2008, Obama the Oracle revealed, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Somehow Obama wasn’t able to predict our ongoing snowy and brutally cold winter.

In 2012, with the campaign slogan of “Forward,” Obama mocked the Republican position on women’s issues, declaring that it was “more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century.”

After Vladimir Putin invaded the Crimea, Obama mournfully bemoaned that Russia was “on the wrong side of history.” John Kerry, his secretary of state, undoubtedly with White House approval, had this to say: “It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century.”

Back to Asimov: The most intriguing character in the Foundation series is a gnome-like, sterile, genetic accident nicknamed the Mule, who uses psychic powers to sway minds and to conquer planet after planet. Psychohistory did not account for the Mule because it measured group behavior, not that of an individual. And its 21st century follower, Barack Obama, did not ascertain the possibility that Putin would seize the Ukraine.

Obama–and this is a significant character flaw–still believes he knows how history will unfold, and most likely his vision of the future is of a world with few international disputes–and when they arise, they’ll be calmly settled by a United Nations committee.

But thugs like Putin, whether we like it or not, make history. 

By Steve Eggleston

Yesterday, the February jobs report was released. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the economy added 175,000 jobs, with 162,000 coming in the private sector.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up by 0.1 percentage points to 6.7% as 264,000 people entered or re-entered the workforce and employment increased by only 42,000. That was not enough to move either the Labor Force Participation Rate or the Employment-Population Ratio from January’s historically-low 63.0% LFPR and 58.8% EPR.

Economists had expected roughly 150,000 jobs added with cold weather affecting the numbers, with those taking the weak economic news from the ADP payroll report and the ISM Services report into account predicting even fewer jobs added. Despite the stronger-than-expected toplines, Reuters didn’t disappoint the weather alarmists, blaming the cold for a drop in the number of hours worked.

Even though the toplines were better than expected, the report itself threw cold water on those who thought it was a great number (emphasis added):

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 in February. Job growth averaged 189,000 per month over the prior 12 months.

Further, Tom Blumer found the results wanting compared to history. On a seasonally-unadjusted basis, the 750,000 total jobs and 300,000 private-sector jobs represent the worst February since 2010, which was also the last month that there was a loss of jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

The phenomenon of a significant increase in jobs in February is a relatively-recent one, going back only to 1995. This February’s 0.52% increase, while a bit better than the mean average of 0.51% between 1995 and 2013, is in the bottom half of performances and worse than the median of 0.54%.

What isn’t a recent phenomenon is the February-June hiring spree Tom talked about. The number of jobs increased by an average of 2.70% in those months between 1948 and 2013. While the prior 3 years were a bit better than that, if things continue the way they went last month, the economy will be struggling to increase the number of jobs by 2% in that stretch.