Friday, June 29, 2012

Who Really Won on the SCOTUS Obamacare Decision


by: Bryan Baumgart

Pending the outcome of the November elections it's hard to determine the ultimate winner in yesterday's decision. Most conservatives felt a pit in their stomach immediately after the decision was announced.  Due to the "teasing" offered during the obamacare hearings three months ago, they felt fairly confident that obamacare would fall when the mandate was struck down.  Libs and Dems rightly claimed victory because obamacare did not fall.  But he who laughs last laughs loudest!

As the dust settled, conservatives began to realize that perhaps Justice Roberts had not betrayed them after all.  Perhaps the decision was part of a veiled and brilliant strategy.  If obamacare had fallen due to the mandate being struck down only on the grounds of the "commerce clause", similar legislation could pop back up in the future.  However, due to the court disagreeing with obama and ruling the mandate a tax, Republicans have the opportunity to repeal the law through the reconciliation process with a simple majority of Romney and 51 votes in the Senate, avoiding filibuster. 60 senators are no longer necessary. 

The ruling has also appeared to have passified the left while energizing the right.  The Romney campaign pulled in $1 million dollars within 3 hours of the ruling.  He finished the day with over $4 million dollars in donations.  Meanwhile, the DNC is so broke they are considering cancelling opening ceremonies at their National Convention.  The ruling has also saddled obama with responsibility for the largest tax increase in the history of the world!  A very regressive tax that disproportionately hits the middle class. It reveals obama as either a liar or a very incompetent Constitutional Scholar.  History shows that elections aren't kind to middle-class tax hikers or liars, and this ruling has granted obama the title of both!  It appears the pendulum has finally been pulled too far left. Get ready for the swing. Perhaps never before has the right been so fired up! (not even election night 2008). 

In reality, the Supreme Court's decision was exactly what everyone expected three months ago before the hearings. We are actually right where we expected to be right now, except the left was just passified while the right needed this catalyst to be energized and determined enough to dominate the elections, repeal the law, and seat judges swinging the bench far to the right. 

The only thing standing in the way of repeal appeared to be the threats and bribes surrounding implementation of state exchanges before November.  Obama had bribed states with federal funding for exchanges and threatened them with forcing the federal version of exchanges on them if they did not implement them right away.  States were threatened with losing federal funding for medicaid if they did not play ball, but the court nixed that threat as well, giving Republican Governors the ability to "play ball".  As reported by the Washington Examiner on Drudge yesterday, “The Republican Governors Association said that nothing should be done by the states until after the election, a clear signal that they believe a GOP president, House and Senate will kill the health care reform”.

If there was ever a call for the factions of conservatism to come together...Thursday was it!  This is the time to join forces with ALL of the groups with the common goal of taking the 2012 elections, repealing obamacare, and placing conservative judges on the bench!  Establishment, Ron Paulers, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, Constitutional Conservatives...everyone! Time to unify and make this era of the lib's nothing more than a dirty stain on America's history!
"There is one more step in deciding obamacare's fate. Mitt Romney will appeal the Supreme Court decision to the ultimate arbiter - the American people. We expect a decision on November 6th. Oral arguments have already begun."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

US Catholics Mount Major Offensive Againt Obama

For the first time in history the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared a Fortnight for Freedom in direct response to the attack on the Catholic Church and religious freedom by the Obama administration.  The US bishops are asking the faithful to pray, say the Rosary, fast, sacrifice, take action and attend rallies in support of religious freedom. The Fortnight began on the Feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More–July 22–and will continue through July 4th.

In Omaha, Archbishop George J. Lucas led a “Fortnight for Freedom Rally” Saturday at St. Margaret Mary Church.  Attendees packed the pews and filled nearly all available standing room to participate in a rosary and listen to Archbishop Lucas and two guest speakers.

Omar F.A. Gutierrez, manager of the archdiocese's Office of Missions and Justice, said “Religious liberty is fundamental to a free and just society.  Not even Jesus would be considered a Christian ministry under the HHS Mandates because if you serve non-Catholics you’re not considered a Catholic Ministry.”

Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, fired the opening shots on Sunday. This homily was posted by the Baltimore Archbishop on the US Bishop’s website.
We surely are not facing the dire brutality that confronted St. John Fisher,but our Church and her institutions do find themselves today in perilous waters. For embedded in the HHS mandate is a very narrow governmental definition of what constitutes a church; and if it is not removed, it is likely to spread throughout federal law.
In the HHS mandate, the federal government now defines a church as a body which hires mostly its own members and serves mostly its own members, and which exists primarily to advance its own teachings. In a word, so long as a church confines itself to the sacristy, then it is exempt from having to fund and facilitate in its health insurance plans government mandated services which are contrary to its own teachings. But if a church steps beyond the narrow confines of this definition by hiring those of other faiths and by serving the common good – then the government is telling us that such institutions aren’t religious enough, that they don’t deserve an exemption from funding and facilitating those things which violate the very teachings which inspired churches to establish their institutions in the first place.
Friends, we must never allow the government, –any government, at any time, of any party–to impose such a constrictive definition on our beloved Church or any church! Our Church was sent forth by the Lord teach and baptize all the nations. It was commissioned by our Savior to announce that the Kingdom of God is at hand. It was sent into the world to do the corporal works of love and mercy. Don’t we see this all around us – in inner-city Catholic schools, in Catholic hospitals, in the work of Catholic Charities so critical for the well being of local communities? “The Word of God cannot be chained,” St. Paul wrote to Timothy, and now it is up to us to defend the Church’s freedom to fulfill her mission to freely manifest the love of God by organized works of education and charity. This is why the Church has engaged the Administration so earnestly, this is why we are working for legislative protection from the Congress, this is why, thankfully, so many have filed lawsuits in various parts of the country, and this is why there is a Fortnight for Freedom—so that the Church would be free of that government interference which St. John Fisher warned against in the British Parliament in the 16th century!…
…If freedom is a system based on courage and if the motive of democracy is love, then let us strive in God’s grace, throughout this Fortnight and beyond, to be men and women of courageous love for the glory of God, for the good of the Church and for love of country.
Never has the Catholic Church organized a campaign quite like the Fortnight for Freedom. This is unprecedented for the Catholic Church. Churches across the United States announced the offensive on Sunday.

Obama declared war.  He never expected this.
"It shouldn’t be just the Catholics taking the stand against Obama’s attempt to stop religious freedom, it should be all Christians as well as Jews. I am afraid the American people do not understand how many of their freedoms are being done away with."
"I will not comply. Today, I am a Catholic. I am a Morman. I am a Jew. I am Spartacus. If we don’t hang together, we will surely hang separately."
Read more

Monday, June 25, 2012

Immigration Reform


by: Bryan Baumgart 

Incentive and Motivation 

We have to take away the incentive to immigrate illegally and motivate LEGAL immigration.  We do so by removing the job opportunities for ILLEGAL immigrants and replace them with job opportunity for LEGAL immigrants.  This helps us keep better tabs on who is coming and going and helps immigrants become productive, contributing, taxpaying members of society rather than living at our expense. 

Remove incentive for illegal immigration:
  1. Establish an effective “e-verify” system such as a website to verify the authenticity of social security numbers with the potential to print off the verification for record keeping.
  2. Crack down on employers that violate the law through huge crippling fines, especially for repeat offenders.

Motivate legal immigration:
  1. Streamline the immigration process so those immigrating legally don’t have to watch folks jump in line and avoid the long waits and outrageous costs associated with legal immigration.
  2. Increase the number of immigrants we welcome each year.
  3. Provide a one-year grace period for all illegal immigrants currently residing within the country to begin the process of legally immigrating to this country.
  4. Begin actually enforcing immigration laws including detention and detainment.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Obamacare Has 'Bent the Insurance Cost-Curve North, Not South'

766,000 More Women Unemployed Today Than When Obama Took Office

1930s Photos Show Greenland Glaciers Retreating Faster Than Today!

By Lewis Page -  2nd June 2012

Recently unearthed photographs taken by Danish explorers in the 1930s show glaciers in Greenland retreating faster than they are today, according to researchers.

The photos in question were taken by the seventh Thule Expedition to Greenland led by Dr Knud Rasmussen in 1932. The explorers were equipped with a seaplane, which they used to take aerial snaps of glaciers along the Arctic island's coasts.

After the expedition returned the photographs were used to make maps and charts of the area, then placed in archives in Denmark where they lay forgotten for decades. Then, in recent years, international researchers trying to find information on the history of the Greenland glaciers stumbled across them.

Taken together the pictures show clearly that glaciers in the region were melting even faster in the 1930s than they are today, according to Professor Jason Box, who works at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State uni.

There's much scientific interest in the Greenland ice sheet, as unlike most of the Arctic ice cap it sits on land: thus if it were to melt, serious sea level rises could occur (though the latest research says that this doesn't appear to be on the cards).

It's difficult to know exactly what's happening to the Greenland ice in total and very different estimates have been produced in recent times. However Professor Box says that many glaciers along the coasts have started retreating in the past decade.

It now appears that the glaciers were retreating even faster eighty years ago: but nobody worried about it, and the ice subsequently came back again. Box theorises that this is likely to be because of sulphur pollution released into the atmosphere by humans, especially by burning coal and fuel oils. This is known to have a cooling effect.

Unfortunately atmospheric sulphur emissions also cause other things such as acid rain, and as a result rich Western nations cracked down on sulphates in the 1960s. Prof Box believes that this led to warming from the 1970s onward, which has now led to the glaciers retreating since around 2000.

Other scientists have said recently that late-20th-century temperature rises in the Arctic may result largely from clean-air legislation intended to deal with acid rain: some have even gone so far as to suggest that rapid coal- and diesel-fuelled industrialisation in China is serving to prevent further warming right now.

Still other scientists, differing with Prof Box, offer another picture altogether of Arctic temperatures, in which there were peaks both in the 1930s and 1950s and cooling until the 1990s: and in which the warming trend which resulted in the melting seen by Rasmussen's expedition actually started as early as 1840, before the industrial revolution and human-driven carbon emission had even got rolling. In that scenario, variations in the Sun seem to have much more weight than is generally accepted by today's climatologists.

At any rate, the new information from the old Danish pictures adds some more data to the subject. The new study by Box and his co-authors is published by Nature Geoscience, here.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/02/1930s_greenland_glacier_retreat/

Friday, June 01, 2012

Louisiana's Bold Bid to Privatize Schools


By Stephanie Simon - June 1, 2012

Louisiana is embarking on the nation's boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.

Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.

The following year, students of any income will be eligible for mini-vouchers that they can use to pay a range of private-sector vendors for classes and apprenticeships not offered in traditional public schools. The money can go to industry trade groups, businesses, online schools and tutors, among others.

Every time a student receives a voucher of either type, his local public school will lose a chunk of state funding.

"We are changing the way we deliver education," said Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican who muscled the plan through the legislature this spring over fierce objections from Democrats and teachers unions. "We are letting parents decide what's best for their children, not government."

BIBLE-BASED MATH BOOKS

The concept of opening public schools to competition from the private sector has been widely promoted in recent years by well-funded education reform groups.

Of the plans so far put forward, Louisiana's plan is by far the broadest. This month, eligible families, including those with incomes nearing $60,000 a year, are submitting applications for vouchers to state-approved private schools.

That list includes some of the most prestigious schools in the state, which offer a rich menu of advanced placement courses, college-style seminars and lush grounds. The top schools, however, have just a handful of slots open. The Dunham School in Baton Rouge, for instance, has said it will accept just four voucher students, all kindergartners. As elsewhere, they will be picked in a lottery.

Far more openings are available at smaller, less prestigious religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students.

The school willing to accept the most voucher students -- 314 -- is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.

The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students, worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.

At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

"We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.

Other schools approved for state-funded vouchers use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don't cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution.

TEACHERS WEIGH LAWSUIT

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that vouchers can be used for religious education so long as the state is not promoting any one faith but letting parents choose where to enroll their children.

In Louisiana, Superintendent of Education John White said state officials have at one time or another visited all 120 schools in the voucher program and approved their curricula, including specific texts. He said the state plans more "due diligence" over the summer, including additional site visits to assess capacity.

In general, White said he will leave it to principals to be sure their curriculum covers all subjects kids need and leave it to parents to judge the quality of each private school on the list.

That infuriates the teachers union, which is weighing a lawsuit accusing the state of improperly diverting funds from public schools to private programs of questionable value.

"Because it's private, it's considered to be inherently better," said Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. "From a consumer perspective, it's buyer beware."

To date, private schools have not had to give their students state standardized tests, so there's no straightforward way for parents to judge their performance. Starting next year, any student on a voucher will have to take the tests; each private school must report individual results to parents and aggregate results to the state.

The 47-page bill setting up the voucher program does not outline any consequences for private schools that get poor test scores. Instead, it requires the superintendent of schools to come up with an "accountability system" by Aug. 1. Once he does, the system cannot be altered except by legislative vote.

White would not say whether he is prepared to pull vouchers from private schools that do poorly on tests.

He pointed out that many kids applying for vouchers are now enrolled in dismal public schools where two-thirds of the students can't read or do math at grade level and half will drop out before they graduate high school. Given that track record, he argues it's worth sending a portion of the roughly $3.5 billion a year the state spends on education to private schools that may have developed different ways to reach kids.

"To me, it's a moral outrage that the government would say, 'We know what's best for your child,'" White said. "Who are we to tell parents we know better?"

That message resonates with Terrica Dotson, whose 12-year-old son, Tyler, attends public school in Baton Rouge. He makes the honor roll, but his mom says he isn't challenged in math and science. This week she was out visiting private schools. "I want him to have the education he needs," she said.

The state has run a pilot voucher program for several years in New Orleans and is pleased with the results. The proportion of kids scoring at or above grade level jumped 7 percentage points among voucher students this year, far outpacing the citywide rise of 3 percentage points, state officials said.

Studies of other voucher programs in the U.S. have shown mixed results.

In Louisiana the vouchers are available to any low- to middle-income student who now attends a public school where at least 25 percent of students test below grade level.

Households qualify with annual income up to 250 percent of the poverty line, or $57,625 for a family of four.

Statewide, 380,000 kids, more than half the total student population of 700,000, are eligible for vouchers. There are only about 5,000 slots open in private schools for the coming year, but state officials expect that to ramp up quickly.

NO FISCAL ANALYSIS

Officials have not estimated the price tag of these programs but expect the state will save money in the long run, because they believe the private sector can educate kids more cheaply than public schools.

Whether those savings will materialize is unclear.

By law, the value of each voucher can't exceed the sum the state would spend educating that child in public school -- on average, $8,800 a year. Small private schools often charge as little as $3,000 to $5,000 a year.

Yet at some private schools with low tuition, administrators contacted by Reuters said they would also ask the state to cover additional, unspecified fees, which would bring the cost to taxpayers close to the $8,800 cap. The law requires the state to cover both tuition and fees.

In the separate mini-voucher program due to launch in 2013, students across Louisiana, regardless of income, will be able to tap the state treasury to pay for classes that are offered by private vendors and not available in their regular public schools.

White said the state hopes to spur private industry to offer vocational programs and apprenticeships in exchange for vouchers worth up to $1,300 per student per class. Students can also use the mini-vouchers to design their own curriculum, tapping state funds to pay for online classes or private tutors if they're not satisfied with their public school's offerings.

State officials will review every private-sector class before approving it. They are still working out how to assess rigor and effectiveness.

The state has not done a formal fiscal analysis, but public school advocates say subtracting the costs of vouchers from their budgets is unfair because they have the same fixed costs -- from utilities to custodial services -- whether a child is in the building four hours a day or six. White responds that the state is not in the business of funding buildings; it's funding education.

While public schools fear fiscal disaster, many private school administrators see the voucher program as an economic lifeboat.

Valeria Thompson runs the Louisiana New School Academy in Baton Rouge, which prides itself on getting troubled students through middle and high school. Families have struggled to pay tuition, she said, and enrollment is down to about 60 kids.

"We're a good school," Thompson said, "but we've been struggling fiscally."

The vouchers have brought in a flood of new applicants and the promise of steady income from taxpayers. Thompson enrolled 17 new students in two days last month and hopes to bring in as many as 130. "I'm so grateful," she said. "You can't imagine how grateful."

 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/01/us-education-vouchers-idUSL1E8H10AG20120601

Emails Reveal Obama's Cronyism With Pharmaceuticals for Obamacare Support


By Alicia Mundy - May 31, 2012

Newly released emails give an inside look at how the White House struck a deal with the pharmaceutical industry in 2009 to get support for the health bill that ultimately passed the next year.

Drug makers and their lobbyists believed they got a good bargain, the emails show. As The Wall Street Journal and others reported at the time, the companies escaped price controls and forced the president to back down on his 2008 campaign promise to allow the reimportation of cheaper drugs from other countries.

In May 2009, after the administration was hit by negative stories about the rising costs of its proposed health care overhaul, a drug industry lobbyist emailed colleagues, “Perfect timing to cut our deal w the White House as this is swirling.”

A month later, following another barrage of similar stories, another industry lobbyist wrote, ‘It’s pretty clear that the Administration has had a horrible week on health care reform, and we are now getting jammed to make this announcement so the story takes a positive turn before the Sunday talk shows beat up on Congress and the White House.”

The email was sent from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America lobby on June 18, 2009, four days before the administration’s agreement with drug makers was formally revealed. Another PhRMA lobbyist quickly responded, “Yes, that’s why they are doing it, but it’s also why we got a good deal.”

The Republican leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday released the emails, which they obtained from health-care industry groups that worked on the bill.

The committee is investigating how the legislation was crafted. Republicans say the administration’s negotiations with industry groups weren’t transparent and were driven by politics.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz called the email release “a nakedly political, taxpayer-funded crusade to hurt the president’s re-election campaign.” He said the 2009 agreement with the drug industry was publicly announced in the Rose Garden. The administration has said the deal was good for taxpayers because the industry offered multiyear savings of $80 billion on drug costs.

The emails indicate that the White House originally wanted about $100 billion in savings and other breaks, in return for increasing the number of patients with health insurance and drug coverage.

The emails show that drug makers won other unpublicized deals from the administration, which both the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby repeatedly denied at the time but were later disclosed in news reports. They included a promise from the White House not to demand that drug makers negotiate Medicare prices with the federal government, which could have reduced drug costs.

At one point, the White House threatened to shame the industry publicly if the negotiations fell apart, according to an email written June 10 by a PhRMA lobbyist. “Barack Obama is going to announce in his Saturday radio address support for rebating all of [Medicare Part] D unless we come to a deal. So they are punishing us” for refusing to concede, he wrote, referring to a proposal to require rebates in across-the-bard Medicare’s prescription-drug program.

“They can’t get 60 votes for that [in the Senate]. It isn’t even a real threat,” the email concluded. The president’s radio address, three days later, didn’t include the lines.


http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/05/31/emails-describe-deal-making-on-obama-health-bill/?mod=WSJ_elections_article_liveupdate

Obama Supports Sex-Selection Abortions

Venezuela Bans Private Gun Ownership

June 1, 2012


Venezuela has brought a new gun law into effect which bans the commercial sale of firearms and ammunition.

Until now, anyone with a gun permit could buy arms from a private company.

Under the new law, only the army, police and certain groups like security companies will be able to buy arms from the state-owned weapons manufacturer and importer.

The ban is the latest attempt by the government to improve security and cut crime ahead of elections in October.

Venezuela saw more than 18,000 murders last year and the capital, Caracas, is thought to be one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America.

The government has been running a gun amnesty in the run-up to the introduction of the new law to try to encourage people to give up their illegal arms without fear of consequences.

One member of the public in Caracas told the BBC: "They're killing people every day. This law is important but they need to do more, they're not doing enough now."

Hugo Chavez's government says the ultimate aim is to disarm all civilians, but his opponents say the police and government may not have the capacity or the will to enforce the new law.

Criminal violence is set to be a major issue in presidential elections later in the year.

Campaign group The Venezuela Violence Observatory said last year that violence has risen steadily since Mr Chavez took office in 1999.

Several Latin American countries have murder rates far higher than the global average of 6.9 murders per 100,000 people.

According to a recent United Nations report, South America, Central America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of murder by firearms in the world.

It found that over 70% of all homicides in South America are as a results of guns - in Western Europe, the figure was closer to 25%.

Analysis

Besides the health of President Chavez, security is the main concern for voters ahead of presidential elections in October.

While voters don't seem to hold Mr Chavez responsible for the insecurity, the situation has worsened throughout his 13 years in office.

The government's most recent statistics put the murder rate at around 48 per 100,000, although some non-governmental organisations estimate it's much higher - 60 per 100,000 in 2011, one of the highest rates in the world.

Critics say the new gun laws and other recently announced measures, like a victim's compensation fund, are just the latest in a long line of failed attempts to bolster security.



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18288430