In light of President Obama's dramatic goalpost shifting on his ironclad "keep your doctor" pledge, we decided to highlight what's become of three core promises made by Democrats during their frenetic Obamacare sales pitch: (1) If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. (2) If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. (3) Everyone's premiums will go down, with the average family saving $2,500. Americans were also assured that the law wouldn't add to deficits, would bend the government's healthcare spending "cost curve" down, and wouldn't negatively impact Medicare -- none of which have been borne out by reality. But for most people, the central question was "is this law going to hurt or help me and my family?" The vast majority of Americans were satisfied with their existing healthcare arrangements, but were hoping for lower rates. That's why Democrats vowed to preserve the popular elements of the status quo, explaining that the only significant change people would experience was the desirable outcome of substantially lower costs. All three prongs of that idealized vision are now officially dead. This is not a Republican claim. The president and his team have made it explicit in their own words. Be sure to pay attention to the definitive and airtight assertions they made prior to the law's passage and implementation, which makes their current revisionism all the more galling:
The new paradigm, with which the American people are understandably displeased: (1) You might be able to keep your doctor, but you might not. Although you may be able to maintain your preferred providers if you're willing to pay more. (2) Millions of your plans have been and will continue to be cancelled -- but we're not at fault because of the fine print that we didn't mention in public appeals. (3) Your premiums won't go down after all -- let alone by $2,500 -- but they might go up less than they hypothetically would have. This law is an empirical failure by any reasonable standard, and one political party is exclusively responsible for it.
Editor's Note: Many thanks to my colleague Sarah Jean Seman for her help in editing the above video.
A lingerie store in Louisiana applied for and was approved to accept EBT cards as a form of payment. The store, Kiss My Lingerie, is located in Gonzales, LA, and sells lingerie and sex toys. EBT cards, which in Louisiana are referred to as "Louisiana Purchase Cards", carry both food and cash benefits.
To paraphrase a line from The Hangover, while it isn't illegal for Kiss My Lingerie to accept EBT cards as payment for its line of corsets and bustiers, it's certainly being frowned upon.
From WAFB News (emphasis added):
A woman who works near the store and asked not to be identified said in the last few weeks, she's noticed more people going inside the adult shop. She added that's when she saw the message on the front door of the store that the EBT card is listed as an acceptable form of payment.
"We were told anything could be purchased there, with the food stamp card," she said. "No child I know eats edible underwear."
Although this case skirts the line, state officials stated there's no violation of the law with the store accepting the card for lingerie and other adult items. They added because the cash benefits are part of a federal program, Louisiana does not dictate how families spend the money of those cards, which could be less than $200 a month or up to $400 a month.
"It's still the taxpayers dollars that are being used in a store like that and that really upsets me," the unidentified woman said.
Under the SNAP (food stamp) program, any non-prepared item that is edible that does not contain alcohol or medicine is considered to be "food," and can be purchased with SNAP funds at eligible retailers. This umbrella apparently includes edible underwear and candy shaped like pieces of the male anatomy.
I'd say "ridiculous," but honestly, it's hard to even faze me any more. How else are the poor going to purchase bustiers without taxpayer dollars?
On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:
Michael Medved talks Ukraine with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. PETERS: "The comparison between President Obama and Neville Chamberlain is grossly unfair...to Neville Chamberlain. Neville Chamberlain was trying to buy time while Britain desperately and frantically rearmed. Obama is shilly-shallying while America disarms." Bill Bennett and K.T. McFarland provide historical context regarding Russia and Ukraine. Mike Gallagher on David Jolly's special election victory in Florida. Bill Bennett spoke with Avik Roy, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who broke the Obamacare enrollment number news on his Forbes.com blog. Medved spoke with Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell on voter ID. Bennett discussed the topic of "Millennials" with Brad Wilcox, associate professor in the department of sociology at the University of Virginia. Medved spoke with Gov. Rick Perry at CPAC.
The president made a stunning admission today during his widely-anticipated interview with WebMD -- namely, some Americans might have to switch doctors under the “Affordable” Care Act.
But before we get to the clip, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
“First, no matter what’ve you’ve heard, if you like your doctor -- or health care plan -- you can keep it.”
That’s about as clear and unambiguous as the president could possibly be: If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period. However, the president subtly shifted the goalposts today by suggesting it’s possible some Americans might lose their doctors at some point. From WFB:
“For the average person, many folks who don’t have health insurance initially, they’re going to have to make some choices. And they might end up having to switch doctors, in part because they’re saving money.”
Even if Americans save money by switching doctors -- a big "if" -- that was not the promise. The promise was not ‘if Obamacare becomes federal law, it's possible families and individuals might be forced to change doctors in order to save money.’ On the contrary, the promise was simple: the sacred doctor-patient relationship would not be tampered with under Obamacare. We now know, of course, that's not necessarily true.
Even so, it’s still galling to hear the president admit as much publicly. I wonder if other Democrats will follow suit.
The House of Representatives has passed a bill that includes a delay in the Obamacare individual mandate for ten years. The bulk of the bill prevents massive cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.
Earlier this week, President Obama quietly delayed the mandate until after the 2016 presidential election by offering Americans a "hardship exemption," but that won't stop Harry Reid from killing the individual mandate portion of this bill as it comes into the Senate.
The House has voted more than 50 times to completely repeal Obamacare.
The problem of illegal immigration in America is only getting worse as the years go by. And as those on both sides of the aisle pitch their “solutions,” it’s become all too clear that too often they aren’t addressing one of the root causes of the problem to begin with. It’s true our borders are not secure at all, despite what the Obama administration would like you to believe. But why the mad dash to enter the States? Simply put, there are jobs to be had—even though we’re a nation struggling with high unemployment.
A recent Op-Ed from the editorial staff at Bloomberg View making this point puts the problem in perspective in a very eye-opening way (emphasis mine):
As many as 8 million undocumented immigrants hold jobs in the U.S. In fact, they account for more than 5 percent of the U.S. labor force. Their unemployment rate might even be lower than that of the nation's black citizens.
And, stereotypes aside, the undocumented are hardly relegated to agriculture and domestic service. Construction, manufacturing and retail are among their biggest employers, according to the Migration Policy Institute. So, either quite a few of the nation's 6 million employers have welcomed undocumented workers into their factories and stores, or a smaller number of employers have hired an awful lot of them.
Either way, little is being done to stop the practice. Workplace enforcement is minimal. Fines are small. Amid all the political bellowing about the border, no one in Washington pays much attention to employers' practices.
Yet with 95,000 miles of shoreline, 500 commercial airports and a northern border that's twice as long as its southern one, the U.S. could transform its Southwest into North Korea and still not stem the flow of undocumented immigrants seeking work, many of whom simply overstay legitimate visas.
Essentially, if a foreigner knew they would not be able to find work in the U.S. we’d not only see less illegal immigration but unemployment rates among U.S. citizens would also decrease. What about E-Verify, you ask?
E-Verify can still be gamed. One independent study found that during a three-month period in 2008, about half the unauthorized workers whose backgrounds it checked were nonetheless approved for work. But DHS has been upgrading the system so that it can access additional databases and more carefully filter applications.
As the system improves, of course, the demand for high-quality identity fraud stands to increase commensurately -- as does off-the-books employment of undocumented workers. If Congress is serious about turning off the flow of undocumented immigrants, it will have to give DHS the resources it needs for workplace enforcement, including on-site inspections.
There has to be a will to make these policy changes, of course, which is more than half the battle.
Hillary Clinton may be the early conventional wisdom frontrunner for 2016, but the American people don't seem eager to be party to an unquestioning coronation. A nationwide survey conducted by Bloomberg shows that a majority of voters do not believe the former Secretary of State's claim that she was unaware of denied security requests ahead of the 2012 Benghazi massacre:
A new Bloomberg poll suggests Hillary Clinton has her own credibility issue -- when it comes to Benghazi. More specifically, 51 percent of voters say they don't believe Clinton when she says that she never saw requests for additional security before the attacks on the U.S. mission in that city in Libya in 2012. Another 41 percent say they do believe Clinton's denials...The poll should serve as a reminder that Americans aren't keen on trusting politicians these days -- even relatively popular ones like Clinton.
Our woefully under-protected diplomatic mission was overrun and sacked in a coordinated, Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11 eighteen months ago. Prior to the assault, the State Department denied repeated requests for an increased US security presence on the ground in the increasingly unstable North African nation. Indeed, existing security forces were actually pulled out of Libya prior to the deadly raid. Hillary Clinton's signature appears on one of the cables approving the change, though her defenders say the Secretary of State's signature is routinely attached to many memos that the principal doesn't actually see. The State Department also approved a security waiver for its Benghazi facility shortly after an attempted attack on the same mission in the summer of 2012, allowing it to continue operating below the department's bare minimum standards.
We have yet to hear any official explanations for this string of catastrophic decisions. A bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report released in January concluded that the attacks were preventable and that State dropped the ball. More than a year-and-a-half after the assassination of Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans, zero people have been held accountable for what happened that night -- neither in Washington DC, nor in Libya. Two of the central figures in advancing the deceitful "spontaneous protest based on a video" narrative have been promoted. Both were top aides to Sec. Clinton. A separate recent poll showed Benghazi to be one of the top negatives associated with the former First Lady's reputation. In other Clintonworld news, a political fundraiser at the center of a major scandal embroiling Washington, DC's mayor has admitted to also funding an illegal "shadow" campaign in several primary states during Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid:
A longtime adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton personally sought and secured the funding for what prosecutors say was an illegal shadow operation to boost Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, according to court papers released as part of a wide-ranging campaign finance investigation. Washington businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson, who pleaded guilty Monday to federal conspiracy charges in a case that has focused largely on D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s (D) 2010 campaign, told federal prosecutors that Clinton aide Minyon Moore asked him to fund pro-Clinton efforts in four states and Puerto Rico costing $608,750 during the hard-fought 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign, the documents show.
Clinton claims she knew nothing about that either. The Bloomberg poll cited above also contains bad news for Chris Christie, as a large majority of Americans say they don't believe the New Jersey governor's assurances that he was uninvolved in the lane closures scandal. A Democrat-led investigation into the matter has thus far turned up no evidence implicating Christie in the matter, over which he fired two top aides.
Perhaps because of Tuesday's demoralizing defeat in Florida's special election, amnesty advocates have significantly stepped up pressure on Democrats to act on immigration reform, whether the Republican majority in the House wants to or not.
Yesterday, we reported on building Spanish language media pressure on the White House to cease all deportations. Today, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the author of the Senate's amnesty bill, posted a threat on twitter and Facebook to Republicans.
The link in Schumer's tweet leads to this Facebook post where Schumer explains:
It's crystal clear where the issue of immigration reform is headed, and Republicans have only two choices to make. They can either help pass comprehensive reform which will greatly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, grow our economy by bringing in needed workers in high tech and agriculture areas, and provide a hard-earned path to eventual citizenship for the 11 million in the shadows, or they can sit idly by and watch the President greatly curtail deportations while 11 million continue to live in limbo here in America. The choice is clear; a reform bill has the support of liberals, moderates, and conservatives and all we need is the courage of the Republican leadership to make the right and obvious choice. -cs
You don't often see threats more stark than this. Schumer is flat out saying, "Either pass my amnesty bill now or Obama will stop protecting the border entirely."
And we know this is the case because just this week Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged that Obama's supposedly record deportation numbers are driven almost entirely by deportations at the border, not from deporting people already inside the country.
“Under the Obama administration, more than half of those removals that were attributed to ICE are actually a result of Border Patrol arrests that wouldn’t have been counted in prior administrations,” Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) asked Johnson during a congressional hearing Tuesday.
“Correct,” Johnson confirmed.
Schumer is right about one thing: Republicans have only two choices here: 1) They can cave to Obama's lawless threats thus rewarding Obama for his illegal actions and setting a precedent that would be copied in every other policy area, or 2) they can stay strong, force Obama to act unilaterally, and then use the courts to rein in his out of control imperial presidency.
It is that simple.
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has begun seeking campaign staff while aggressively courting New Hampshire's political elite, marking what local Republicans consider serious steps toward launching a Senate campaign against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
The stakes are high for the GOP's national push for the Senate majority this fall as well as for Brown's own political ambitions.
The longtime Massachusetts resident, having recently relocated to his seacoast New Hampshire vacation home, is expected to launch an exploratory committee to enter the race as soon as Friday, according to several New Hampshire Republican officials who spoke directly to Brown about his plans.
The move officially allows him to begin raising money and hiring staff. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose his plans before an official announcement.
Circling back to my point earlier, Alex Sink didn’t even vote for Obamacare and her candidacy went down in flames. It may be that Brown, after watching Congressman-elect David Jolly (R-FL) celebrate his victory on national television (an extremely flawed candidate, by the way, as so many have pointed out) that he finally decided to take the plunge after all. Brown, of course, ran for re-election against a formidable opponent in a blue state in 2012; now he doesn't have to run in Massachusetts, Obamacare is a train wreck (as predicted), and well-known Democratic congressional candidates are losing special elections on favorable terrain. If Brown is intent on making a political comeback, is this not his chance?
Then again, perhaps not:
Some believe Brown's political future could suffer permanent damage should he ultimately disappoint New Hampshire Republicans by backing out of the Senate race after so much hoopla. But should he run and lose, Brown's resume would be tainted with two high-profile losses in two years.
To which I would simply say: So what? If worst comes to worst, he joins a law firm or renegotiates his contract with Fox News (which, incidentally, he just renewed). No politician ever got very far playing it safe.
At the same time, if Brown does go all in, he would instantly change the contours of the race overnight and give Republicans a fighting chance in New Hampshire. Democrats are already defending at least four vulnerable U.S. Senate seats in red states. How much money and resources can they afford to re-allocate to New England? Not a whole lot, it would seem:
With finite resources, they would rather not devote additional time or resources to a New Hampshire seat that was supposed to be safe.
But Democrats and their allies are already preparing for a worst-case scenario, having spent roughly $360,000 combined on television advertising against Brown in recent weeks. Conservative critics spent heavily to weaken Shaheen earlier in the year, led by the tea party ally Americans For Prosperity, which spent roughly $700,000 on television ads knocking Shaheen's support for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Of course they wouldn't. And best of all, Republicans in New Hampshire actually want Brown to run:
Jamie Burnett, a veteran New Hampshire Republican strategist, called Brown the "one potential candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire that people are genuinely excited and hopeful about."
"People have gotten their hopes up," Burnett said. "They would be disappointed if he didn't run."
This wouldn’t be the first time Brown would leave his supporters in the lurch if he bowed out at the last minute. But for the first time since leaving office, it seems, he can't deny the rumors any longer.
I'd be very surprised if he doesn't run.
UPDATE: More tea leaves:
BREAKING: Scott Brown cancels scheduled April Iowa trip in further sign of focus on NH Senate run— Jon Keller (@kelleratlarge) March 14, 2014
Roy Ortiz, an illegal immigrant living in Colorado, was recently rescued from dangerous flood waters by first responders. Now Ortiz, who barely speaks English, is thinking about suing them because "mistakes were made." The argument? Rescuers failed to get him out of a submerged car fast enough and now he's having bad dreams. Ortiz is demanding $500,000 in damages which if awarded, would be paid out by taxpayers.
Ortiz and his attorney appeared on Fox News The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson yesterday to explain.