Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Inadequate Voter ID Brings Complaints from California Democrats

Heh. Imagine Democrats being concerned about lax voter ID enforcement.
Ellis, the former director of Emerge America, a women’s political organization, lost the election by a narrow margin of 62 votes out of 3,000 cast. Her loss immediately set off protests from hundreds of her backers, many of whom charged that there were irregularities that included allowing voters to cast proxy ballots without proper ID. [emphasis added]

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sarah Palin Going Squishy on Israel Because Trump

Sarah Palin's Twitter page photo
Certainly is historic. The first time a U.S. President has refused to meet with an Israeli Prime Minister while visiting the Western Wall in the country's capital, Jerusalem.

And not a word from Governor Palin about Trump's Secretary of State refusing to say the Western Wall (and East Jerusalem) is a part of Israel. Not to mention Secretary Tillerson saying Tel Aviv was the home of Judaism!

When Palin visited Jerusalem and the Western Wall in 2011, she seemed to think it was in Israel.
"Israel is absolutely beautiful and it is overwhelming to see and touch the cornerstone of our faith and I am so grateful to get to be here," Palin told reporters.
Now under President Trump, apparently the U.S. position on whether East Jerusalem is a part of Israel is not important to her. Trump refused to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Western Wall because, according to the "US delegation", it was a "private" visit and a "senior American offical" said what happened when Trump was there wasn't Israeli business because the Western Wall isn't part of Israel's territory. It's a part of the West Bank.
The US delegation reportedly rejected the request for Netanyahu to join the visit, saying it would be “a private visit” by the president and that he would go on his own. The Israelis then asked whether a TV crew providing live coverage of the Trump visit could at least continue to film here there.
At this point, the TV report said, a senior American official rudely responded: “What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.”
One assumes in light of Secretary Tillerson's comments that the "American official" wasn't "going rogue". One would think in view of Palin's past very public support for Israel that she would call for Tillerson's chastisement. But, no. For Palin if Obama and his secretary of state say such things they are bad. If Trump and his secretary of state say the same things they are okay. No news here. Just walk on by.

Poor Netanyahu can't say anything negative about Trump or Tillerson just as he couldn't about Obama, Clinton and Kerry because of all the U.S. defense help for Israel that the President can impede. May the Lord see and repay.

[Note: I try not to blog about Palin because her positions change depending on whether her candidate does it or someone she opposes politically does it. But, some things are just too hard to ignore.]

Is Sheriff David Clarke's Plagiarism Worse than Letting a Prisoner Die of Thirst?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

United Airlines Is Acting Wisely

Just received this in my email box.

Though the passenger acted like a fool, he wasn't a danger to anyone, already was seated, had legally paid for the flight, and was being removed to help United meet their employee transportation needs. That isn't normally part of the implied buyer/seller contract for goods and services.

I buy a ticket and expect that the carrier will carry through on providing transportation if they physically can. I've made plans based on that and usually laid out money based on that. To know I'm being kicked off because they didn't plan ahead well enough to get their employees to needed locations doesn't sit well. Why shouldn't the employees ride the bus instead of me?

Thus, I think this is a good move for United even though the roughing up of the passenger was the result of law enforcement activity and not United's personnel.

Which leads me to the horrible story that apparently a mentally unstable man died from dehydration under Sheriff David Clarke's watch. This is sickening police behavior. God help it be because of police idiocy and not knowingly as happened with Terri Schiavo. Law enforcement bad behavior when there is no imminent danger to the officers or other people needs to be taken very seriously and punished.

I should make clear that even if it is due to idiocy, it needs to be treated at least as involuntary manslaughter and maybe more because Terrill Thomas was completely under their control with no way to meet his own needs. People in that position are rightly held to a much higher behavior standard. And David Clarke should be tearing his department apart about this, but isn't. Says something very sad about him.

Some 1989 Magazine Ads

I came across an old 1989 magazine and thought some of the ads interesting in what has changed and what hasn't.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Looks Like Federal Government Control of Healthcare Is Here to Stay

I'm glad people who understand legalese have figured out what the new Republican healthcare bill says.

The federal government still mandates what your policy will include.
While some of the regulations are tweaked with more flexibility, the 800-pound gorilla in the room — guaranteed issue mixed with community rating* (which is responsible for almost all of the premium hikes) — is left in place. Nor does this bill repeal the mandated essential benefits, which require insurers to cover a specific number of people and sex change operations, maternity care for men, etc.
And even the repeal of actuarial value “metal” requirements (platinum, gold, silver, bronze) — the most positive of the outlined changes — would not take place until the 2020 plans. 
Instead of penalty money going to the government, your healthcare insurer will be required to charge you 30% more for your coverage (Sec. 2711).  This will undoubtedly be just as effective as the Democratic penalties were in forcing young, healthy people to pay sky high prices for medical coverage.
By maintaining guaranteed issue, healthy individuals will just go without insurance, and then if they get sick, anyone can still demand a policy. It’s worth taking the risk of paying an extra 30 percent when you really need it in exchange for avoiding paying the equivalent of another monthly mortgage for nothing when healthy.
Moreover, the new premium penalty for those gaming the system won’t begin until 2019, but the individual and employer mandates will be repealed immediately. This will further hurt the solvency because, again, the bill would maintain the exchanges and the regulations. Therefore, higher prices mixed with fewer people paying into the system will result in a nightmare scenario.
I'm not sure that mandate will meet Justice Roberts requirement that it's only constitutional if it's a tax. Not too many taxes go directly to private businesses. Wouldn't it be ironic if Obamacare was constitutional but Trumpcare is not?

Lots of money will be lobbed at the states for Medicaid expansion.
As for Medicaid, the draft plan grandfathers in the entirety of the Obamacare expansion. Worse, it doesn’t freeze future enrollment for another two years, which will incentivize states to massively expand Medicaid before 2020. It also throws another $10 billion to states that never expanded Medicaid.
Federal taxpayer subsidies to health insurance buyers will continue in a fire hose manner.
. . . this House bill replaces the income-based subsidies with age-based subsidies – ranging from $2,000 for younger people to $4,000 a year for older enrollees, and as much as $14,000 for a family. It is a massive new entitlement for middle-income and lower-income Americans. It would apply in full for families earning up to $150,000, and then phased out $100 per thousand dollars earned over that threshold. Thus, a family could theoretically get some sort of subsidy well into the $200,000-plus income level. [emphasis added]
Does anyone think this will bring down healthcare costs? Or that limited healthcare insurance options will increase? Or that people angry about Obamacare will be happy about Trumpcare?

The key takeaway is that there is to be no repeal of the essential idea of Obamacare that the federal government should regulate how healthcare functions in the United States. Both parties and their leaders now agree with this. If the Democrats are smart, they will vote for this and then tweak it back to Obamacare when they get in power.

The only hope, and it is mighty slim, is voter anger. Rising healthcare insurance costs and dwindling choice of healthcare providers may keep that anger strong. But where is an angry voter to go?
*Community Rating: "A rule that prevents health insurers from varying premiums within a geographic area based on age, gender, health status or other factors."

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Cruz and Pelosi Agree U.S. Debt Problem Not Too Much Spending But Too Little Revenue

Heh. You can't make these things up.

Here's Ted Cruz right after President Trump's speech on Tuesday:

Here's Nancy Pelosi four years ago: