Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Sad Tale: Syria's Children Labor in Lebanese Potato Fields to Feed Family

This is a very, very sad story.

Ten year old Batool and her sisters, refugees from the warring in Syria, must work in the Bekaa Valley potato fields of Lebanon to help feed their family. Batool's brothers don't work the fields because it's women's work.

Batool would like to be in school to be with her friends and dreams of being a teacher when she grows up. "Her father says he knows how important school is -- but his children must work because he has no job."

 

 Isn't that sad?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

ObamaCare: We're from the government and we're here to help, whether you want it or not.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have all read stories of people who've compared their current health insurance costs to that of the government required ObamaCare. Very few, so far, have anything good to say about the outcome. Nearly everyone finds they will be paying far more in premiums than currently, and the deductibles are unbelievably high, so high that very few people will be able to afford surviving an illness or injury.

In my hometown paper, The Auburn Journal, one reader, Teresa Powell, did her homework even including the government subsidy in her results. Under ObamaCare, Teresa and her family will actually save money with both the Bronze and Gold policies. But, that doesn't matter to Teresa who would prefer to keep what she already has. Why? I'll let Teresa explain in her Letter to the Editor:
I want to chime in on the Affordable Care Act. I have my own insurance policy covering my family and we pay the cost out-of-pocket. We currently pay $658 per month for the three of us and before the health care law went into effect, we were scheduled for an increase on Jan. 1, 2014 to $681 per month.
I now have been informed by my carrier that I cannot keep my current coverage. That policy will be terminated at the end of the year. President Obama promised us that if we liked our current coverage, we could keep it. My carrier can offer me a comparable policy, which is in line with the Affordable Care Act regulations, but this policy will cost me $1,175.38 per month. This is an increase in our premiums of $517.38 per month. This is an increase that we cannot afford within our budget.
I did use the calculator under Covered California to compare the “Bronze” policy, which runs $1,530 per month, and the “Gold” policy, which runs $1,599 per month. These policies have even higher premiums than the policy my carrier is proposing at $1,175.38 per month.
The “Bronze” policy is closest to my current policy, but actually increases the deductible and the amounts we will have to pay for co-pays. The “Gold” policy is slightly better than my current policy.
Here’s the kicker. The taxpayers will pay $943 per month on either policy I may choose, reducing the cost of the “Bronze” policy to $587 per month, and the “Gold” policy to $656 per month. The result to me is a $94 per month savings on the “Bronze” and a $25 per month savings on the “Gold” when compared to the $681 I would have been paying without the interference of the reform program. I would much prefer to pay the $681 out-of-pocket under my current policy and save the taxpayers the $943 per month ($11,316 annually).
I feel that we are being forced to go on government aid. How is that a good thing? I don’t want to receive a government benefit of $11,316 per year, but feel my only other option is to pay the annual penalty and go uninsured since I cannot afford to continue on a personal policy at $1,175.38 per month.
I like my current policy and would like to keep it, as I was promised by President Obama. He has just made it so that I cannot afford to keep it. This is an Un-Affordable Care Act.
TERESA POWELL, Auburn
Though Teresa will, by her own acknowledgement, benefit from an ultimately better financial deal for herself and her family by saving her $94/mth on the Bronze plan or $24/mth on the Gold plan, Teresa simply does not want a government subsidy and says so plainly, "I don’t want to receive a government benefit of $11,316 per year..." Liberals just don't get that part, because they know what's best for everyone.

Minus the math, I made this same argument to my older brother while he was trying to strong arm me into supporting ObamaCare before the ACA had been voted in to law. A cowardly Liberal, my brother just couldn't understand when I said, "I don't want it." He would say, "But, it will be good for you and we love you and want what's best for you." Said I, "I still don't want it because it's being forced on the citizens of this nation and I don't like it. And I don't like being bullied." Well, he voted for Obama* and ObamaCare while I voted for Romney. I'm still here in America, and he moved to Chile.

To paraphrase Pres. Ronald Reagan, "We're from the government, and we're here to help, whether you want it or not."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Columbus Day


Columbus Day is celebrated on this day even though Christopher Columbus' expedition first sighted the land later called America on Oct 12, 1492. We're supposed to feel extremely guilty about bringing death and destruction to the aboriginal peoples as well as land theft, torture, mutilation, and enslavement. Except that none of that is unique to the European paradigm vis a vis Native Americans (note: the preferred term of Native Americans is "Indians.") It is true European immigrants obtained land from Indians by purchase, fraud, trade, and conquest, killed, tortured, mutilated, and enslaved Indians, but the Indians did the same amongst themselves and had done so for thousands of years before Columbus was even born.

"The Indians" is a misnomer in the sense there was no singular united group of Indians from sea to shining sea. Rather, there were well over the 500 Nations modern Indians claim, and they were constantly at war with one another that included what is today called torture and genocide - that's a large reason for only 500 Nations by the time Europeans showed up. Incidentally, at the time, the Europeans were Spanish and Portuguese later to include French, Dutch, Germans, and English. Much later, that is to say, today, Europeans are specifically and singularly, English.

At least one Indian saw the similarity of the European and Indian land gains and hypocrisy of the Indian claims they were different from the white man. At the Laramie Peace Conference in 1851 also called the 1851 Horse Creek Treaty, Black Hawk, an Oglala Sioux, said:

“Father, if there is anything I do know, it is this country, for I was raised in it, with the interpreters and traders. You have split the country, and I don’t like it. What we live upon, we hunt for, and we hunt from the Platte to the Arkansas, and from here up to the Red Butte and the Sweet Water. The Cheyennes and Arapahoes agree to live together and be one people; that is very well, but they want to hunt on this side of the river. These lands once belonged to the Kiowas and the Crows, but we whipped these nations out of them, and in this we did what the white men do when they want the lands of the Indians. We met the Kiowas and the Crows and whipped them, at the Kiowa Creek, just below where we now are. We met them and whipped them again, and the last time at Crow Creek. This last battle was fought by the Cheyennes, Arapahoes and Oglalas combined, and the Oglalas claim their share of the country.”

Like it or not, we came in possession of this country the same way the Indians did - by force, fraud, and trade. For that, there is no guilt.

Nikita Khrushchev Warned Us

Why do we never listen to the bad guys when they tell us what they'll do to us?



Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Government Shutdowns, Funding Gaps, and Panda Cams

With President Jimmy Carter watching, Benjamin Civiletti is sworn in by Chief Justice Warren Burger as U.S. attorney general on Aug. 16, 1979. The following year, Civiletti issued a legal opinion saying that federal work cannot go on until Congress agrees to pay for it.
Government shutdowns were so common before 1980 that government workers just kept on working believing Congress would get around to passing a budget. And they did. Then Jimmy Carter(D) was elected, and "his Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti issued a legal opinion saying government work cannot go on until Congress agrees to pay for it." Thanks, Jimmy.

This time around, we're again warned of Armageddon, stocks will plunge, the economy will unravel, and meteors will streak the sky. None of that will happen, however. Well, except for that last one - the Orionids meteor shower will be active from October 17 to 25. The cheap suit unravelling of the economy may be Wall Streets worst fear, but is hardly likely in the long run as previous government shutdowns have shown such fears to be overwrought.

Since 1976, there have been 17 government funding gaps and shutdowns lasting between 1 and 21 days (some say 28 days, but I think they're counting the Christmas and New Year holidays when government is shutdown anyway.) A funding gap is the situation in which federal agencies continue to operate without a regular appropriations bill, while a government shutdown closes only non-essential services like national parks and museums. Because Obama* has made huge increases to government, some 800,000 federal workers will be sent home until a deal is struck. Such  closures have never caused a Wall Street investment meltdown in the past, and it's dubious one will do so now.
FUNDING GAPS AND SHUTDOWNS OF MORE THAN 10 DAYS:
— 1976 Funding gap: From Sept 30 to Oct. 11 under President Ford. S&P 500 goes from 105.24 to 101.64.
— 1977 Funding gap: From Sept. 30 to Oct. 13 under Carter. S&P 500 starts at 96.53 and ends at 93.46.
— 1978 Funding gap: From Sept. 30 to Oct. 18 under Carter. S&P starts at 102.54 and ends at 100.49.
— 1979 Funding gap: From Sept. 30 to Oct. 12 under Carter. S&P goes from 108.56 to 104.49.
— 1995-1996 Shutdown: From Nov. 14 to Nov. 19, 1995, under Clinton, the S&P goes from 592.30 to 600.07. And from Dec. 15 to Jan. 6, 1996, the S&P goes from 616.92 to 616.71.
smithsonian pandaPossibly the most egregious result of the government shutdown is that the Panda-cam at the National Zoo will go dark. Exactly why the Federal government is funding a 24 hour camera in the panda enclosure when Nancy Pelosi told CNNs Candy Crowley in an interview Sept 23, 2013 that the federal budget can't be cut any more "[b]ecause the cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make. It’s really important that people understand that. We all want to reduce the deficit. …You cannot have any more cuts just for the sake of cuts." is an argument for another day.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Low Information Voter v. No Information Voter v. Smartest Guy in the Room

One statistic is cited that 43% of Americans don’t know anything about the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, or the existence of the new health care exchanges. This Low Information Voter knows just enough to be dangerous with a ballot -
Maher Hamoui: “I know it has something to do with caring about people. You know… Obamacare. So basically that’s all I know.”
That makes the mind whirl. Now, here's a No Information Voter, Jose Menendez, who claims to not to know anything about the new law of the land. Would you trust him with a ballot?
Jose Menendez: I have a question. Who created this affordable health care plan that you’re speaking of?
Reporter: This was passed by Congress.
JM: Oh, Congress! And I’m just wondering, as a citizen of America, how come I did not hear of this? Is Obama forcing Americans to get this insurance? Because it sounds that way.

Odd how the great unwashed understand what ObamaCare is about, but the smartest guy in any room still can't explain his own signature program.

h/t Hot Air

Sunday, September 29, 2013

SNL Mocks ObamaCare





“I am psyched for Obamacare,” one woman said, explaining “now that I have healthcare, I can get sick all the time!”
“Mr. Obama here, he made sure my son will never have to lift a finger here to get insurance,” a man proclaimed.
Another man, who was called up to explain how easy it supposedly is to enroll in Obamcare, said he himself had failed to do so because it is “too complicated to figure out.” (The Blaze)
When you've lost Saturday Night Live, you've really lost.