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CBS News’ Major Garrett reports tonight that the embattled Health and Human Services Secretary will announce her resignation Friday:
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will announce her resignation tomorrow, senior administration officials confirm.
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) April 10, 2014
Not seeing any write-ups on any of the news sites as to specifics other than this AP blip, but let me be the first to say “don’t let the door hit ya on the way out, Madame Secretary.” Another Obama administration corruptocrat exits stage left. Let’s hope Holder is next (although I’m not holding my breath).
Update – 7:05 PM: Best response so far to the news, via Ben Shapiro:
Sebelius resigns. Which means that as a future lobbyist, she'll meet much more often with the President.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 10, 2014
**Posted by Phineas
And even freedom of thought.
Writing at National Review Online, Dr. Hanson reviews recent incidents of people being hounded for their political opinions or scientific skepticism –among others, Brendan Eich at Mozilla; Dr. Richard Tol for not towing the party line on global warming; antisemitism at a major university that only draws a slap on the wrist; and let’s add Brandeis University’s disgusting insult to Ayaan Hirsi Ali– and then argues that the president has enabled or encouraged this behavior both actively and passively. (And I do believe Hanson is right.)
After all that, VDH offers this about how civil liberties will die in America:
All of that them/us rhetoric has given a top-down green light to radical thought police to harass anyone who is open-minded about man-caused global warming, or believes that gay marriage needs more debate, or that supporting Israel is a legitimate cause, or that breaking federal immigration law is still a crime and therefore “illegal.”
Our civil liberties will not be lost to crude fascists in jackboots. More likely, the death of free speech will be the work of the new medieval Torquemadas who claim they destroyed freedom of expression for the sake of “equality” and “fairness” and “saving the planet.”
And either the irony is lost on them, or they don’t give a damn.
UPDATE: And just like that, another example — the progessive, tolerant, open-minded mob has gone after Dropbox for adding Condoleezza Rice to their board of directors. Can we call them “racists,” yet? (h/t Stephen Kruiser)
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
Sometimes I wonder if Kim Jong Un, a reputed heavy drinker, doesn’t sit around late at night nursing a bottle of scotch and fantasizing about the various outré ways he can whack people who have ticked him off:
A senior North Korean official has been executed with a flamethrower after Kim Jong-un branded him an ‘enemy of the state’, it has been claimed.
O Sang-hon is said to have been brutally killed for his close ties to the communist leader’s uncle Jang Song-taek, who was himself publicly tried and executed in December after being found guilty of corruption and ‘counter revolutionary’ activities.
Mr O is thought to be the latest of 11 senior Workers Party figures to have been executed this year over their links to Mr Jang, with South Korean media reporting that Kim Jong-un has plans to execute or imprison hundreds more of his supporters and extended family members.
Mr O had been Mr Jang’s deputy at North Korea’s ministry of public security, and his execution by flamethrower took place after being found guilty of helping his boss turn the state department into a personal security division and hide corruption, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.
The ministry of public security has since been closed, with all 11 of the most senior officials said to have been either executed or sent to one of Kim Jong-un’s concentration camps in a second wave of vengeance following conviction of Mr Jang.
I’m not so sure a life sentence in in the North Korean gulag is much better than death, in fact I’m certain it’s in many ways worse, but execution by flamethrower? Mind you, that’s after we’ve had reports of execution by mortar and by being thrown to the dogs.
Use of a flamethrower brings a whole new meaning to “firing squad.”
Take this news with the usual caveats about “if it’s true,” but, regardless of its verity and in spite of its egregiousness, Kim’s savage, quixotic tyranny is a “teachable moment” for advocates for advocates of limited government, because it shows quite clearly the dangers posed when government is not restrained and its powers are not carefully limited. And when the Rule of Man replaces the Rule of Law, no one’s life, rights, or property is safe.
No need for flamethrowers to prove it: just ask the Sacketts of Idaho.
PS: I fully expect Kim to up his game — the next execution just has to be by tac-nuke.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The Hill reports that another one of Obama’s budgets has gone down in flames in the US House:
The House on Wednesday handily rejected a GOP budget alternative based on President Obama’s 2015 spending blueprint.
It was defeated 2-413, following a pattern seen in recent years in House votes to overwhelmingly reject Obama’s budget proposals. Today’s vote is just slightly better than the unanimous vote against Obama’s budget in 2012.
The two “yes” votes came from Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Jim Moran (D-Va.), who is retiring.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) offered a budget alternative based on Obama’s budget plan as a substitute amendment to the House GOP budget. Mulvaney made this move as a way to force Democrats to go on the record about the president’s spending plans.
But Democrats have refused to play along, and have derided these GOP-sponsored options as a political tactic. Earlier in the day, House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) urged fellow Democrats in a “Dear Colleague” letter to vote against the Mulvaney amendment, calling it a “political stunt.”
Van Hollen also argued that Mulvaney’s amendment did not truly represent the president’s budget, and complained that the GOP had only allotted 20 minutes of debate, split evenly between each side.
“I thought we didn’t even want to take up thousand-plus page bills. And yet now, supposedly, we’re going to debate and vote on something that is over 2,000 pages,” Van Hollen said.
An Obama administration official agreed with House Democrats that the GOP substitute was not an accurate reflection of Obama’s budget plan.
“The Administration would welcome votes on the actual provisions of President’s Budget,” said Office of Management and Budget spokesman Steve Posner. “That is not what this amendment represents, and a vote for or against this amendment is not a vote for or against the President’s policies.”
But Republicans rejected these complaints, and defended the idea of consider Obama’s latest proposal as a way to let the House consider all budget options.
“Any time the president of the United States takes the time to produce a budget, it merits a debate,” Mulvaney said. “I think it’s a valid discussion we should have every year.”
It should be noted that while Obama’s budget only got two votes, Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget will be up for a vote today and is likely to get many more votes – including a few from vulnerable House Democrats – proving that, when all is said and done, the real “stinkburger” budget will be … Obama’s.
**Posted by Phineas
One of the oft-stated goals of the Affordable Care Act was insuring the uninsured. For those who couldn’t afford insurance even with the new subsidies, states could expand their Medicaid offerings with (temporary) help from the federal government (i.e., taxation and borrowing). Great, right? Even if you don’t make enough to afford private insurance, you still get medical care, right?
Not if the doctor refuses to take Medicare:
“I’m sorry, we are no longer accepting that kind of insurance. I apologize for the confusion; Dr. [insert name] is only willing to see existing patients at this time.”
As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.
My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.” According to a study 33% of doctors are NOT accepting Medicaid. Here in Jersey, one has a dismal 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid – the lowest in the country.
That insurance or Medicaid card does one a whole lot of good when no one will accept it, doesn’t it?
This is one aspect of a broader access problem that’s going to get more and more attention as we get deeper into the Obamacare morass. In addition to a growing doctor shortage (something that Obamacare may make worse), and shrinking provider networks, the limited number of doctors who accept Medicaid will only get smaller, because the system underpays for their services, and yet under Obamacare is greatly increasing the number of patients. Noble sentiments aside, a medical practice is a business, and a physician or hospital can only afford to see so many money-losing patients before it’s no longer worth staying in business.
Call it another of Obamacare’s broken promises: the government promises you medical care, but what if the care-provider refuses to play?
Of course, one would-be Democratic lawmaker in Virginia has a solution for that: serfdom.
Via Jim Geraghty, who notes it’s even harder to find specialists who take Obamacare.
RELATED: Bobby Jindal has a better idea.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
If you check out Senator Kay Hagan’s campaign Twitter feed today, you’ll see she’s joining other Democrats nationwide in pretending there’s a gender wage gap that favors men over women. Here’s one of her tweets on the topic:
— Kay Hagan (@kayhagan) April 8, 2014
This manufactured issue is, of course, being brought up now by President Obama and other elected Democrats at this time because it’s an election year, and vulnerable Democrats up for reelection like Senator Hagan – whose approval numbers have been dropping rapidly here for the last several months – are increasingly desperate to take the focus off of the disastrous Obamacare bill itself and its glitch-filled roll-out. Hagan, you may recall, helped craft the so-called “Affordable Care Act”, which lead to nearly 500,000 North Carolinians losing health insurance plans they liked – plans they were routinely told by the Senator that they could keep. So understandably, she wants your eye off the ball – hence, jumping on the “Fair Pay Act” bandwagon.
Putting to the side the fact that the Equal Pay Act was already signed into law in 1963, and the fact that the “gender wage gap” is, in reality, a huge myth created by Democrats in order “win” the women’s vote by playing the victimhood card, if we go by the Senator’s own metrics concerning this supposed “issue” – it turns out she’s a big hypocrite on the issue of “equal pay”:
As President Barack Obama and the Democrats prepare to honor “Equal Pay Day,” Senate Democrats continue to pay female employees significantly less than their male counterparts, according to an analysis of Senate salary data in Democratic offices.
Senate Democrats plan to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act on Tuesday, though the vote is largely symbolic given the unlikelihood that the bill will be brought to the floor of the Republican-controlled House.
The analysis shows female staffers in Democratic Senate offices were paid just 91 cents for each dollar paid to male staffers. The average salary for a woman was more than $5,500 below the average salary for a man.
Men received higher average salaries in more than two-thirds of the 43 Senate offices analyzed.
Many of the senators with the largest pay disparity between men and women are facing reelection battles in 2014.
Numerous senators up for reelection have an especially large gap between male and female salaries:
- Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.): $15,343 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Mark Udall (D., Colo.): $9,783 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.): $6,267 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.): $5,799 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.): $3,189 higher average male salary.
This is not a new problem for Democrats. A previous Washington Free Beacon analysis of the fiscal year 2011 found that Democratic Senate offices were paying female staffers far less than their male coworkers during that year as well.
And not only are Hagan and many of her fellow Democrats – including our celebrity President himself – failing big by their own standards on the “equal pay” issue, but even the major media outlets that are normally reliably in Democrat corners on this topic have caught on to their duplicity:
— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) April 8, 2014
We’ll just call this “War On Women” – Democrat style. Nice to see the mainstream media finally catching on. Much easier to destroy phony liberal narratives like the ones Senator Hagan and her party try to foist onto the American people when the journalists actually do their jobs in investigating White House claims for a change.
**Posted by Phineas
Somebody on Twitter posted an upbeat message saying the US delegation to the latest round of talks with Iranian officials was quite optimistic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a born optimist and I love optimism, but I’d rather revel in victory than hope for good news, and the Iranians have every reason to revel. The Obama crowd has just ok’d something the Tehran tyrants have desperately wanted since the eighties: spare parts for their long-grounded American passenger aircraft. Boeing and General Electric were given export licenses by the Treasury Department and everyone involved has been chanting “we take aircraft security very seriously,” in order to cloak this latest gift to the Khamenei-Rouhani regime in humanitarian hues.
Frankly I’d rather they took national security very seriously. Iran uses its commercial aircraft for military purposes (one of the reasons that eery flight between Tehran and Caracas is so worrisome), and the mullahs have been limited by the degradation of the national fleet. The Boeing planes and GE engines date to the 1970s, and very few of them are in service. Back in the mid-eighties, when I spent quite a bit of time with Iranian officials, they repeatedly asked for spare parts, both for the passenger planes and for the aging military craft, the F4s and F5s. Secretary of Defense Weinberger of course vetoed any such discussions, and the embargo has held until just now.
Now we’re arming Iran.
The idea that a state-sponsor of global terrorism like Iran would adhere to understandings to keep the civilian and military functions of their aircraft separate is self-delusional nonsense. They’ll no more do that than they have to keep their civilian and military nuclear programs apart. (Really, I have a bridge for anyone who believes they’re honoring the recent nuclear agreement.)
What these fatuous dunderheads at State and in the White House refuse to see is that Iran has regarded itself as being at war with the United States since 1979. A deal like this, when Iran could easily ferry troops or equipment on “civilian” flights is tantamount to selling them the rope they’ll use to hang us.
This is part of a larger, global war of tyrannies against democracies. George W. Bush was mocked for his “Axis of Evil” comment, but he was right. The players have changed a bit since then, but still include Pyongyang, Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Caracas — and Tehran. And they’re taking advantage of the openings we’re giving them. More Michael:
And so it is, indeed the war has been on for some time, and it’s a bit hotter than Cold War 1.0 was for most of the twentieth century. Kiev burned, and may burn again soon. Caracas is burning, as are many of Venezuela’s cities and towns. Crimea has been annexed, and Syria is still aflame, as is Iraq, and also Yemen. Estonia and Finland are seriously frightened, as well they should be. If we pull back from the crisis du jour, we can see it’s a global conflict. Iran and Russia are fighting in Syria, sometimes with and sometimes against the jihadi marauders. Cuba is fighting in Venezuela, a country the Castros largely command, and Hezbollah is in there, too. And for those of you who follow Africa, know that the Iranians are up to their necks in Nigeria, buying influence and supporting the mass murderers in Boko Haram.
The West needs to wake up and smell the smoke from the fires starting to burn all around it, before it turns into a real conflagration. Our foes are vulnerable, and the West can win, but only if with American leadership. The US government is the only one that can convince the other nations to take the steps necessary to push back against Putin, Khamenei, and the others. As John Schindler recently wrote:
We will have many allies in resisting Russian aggression if we focus on issues of freedom and sovereignty, standing up for the rights of smaller countries to choose their own destiny.
It would help if we had leaders who saw themselves as the heirs to Churchill, rather than Chamberlain.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
What.a.surprise. Not. Via The Hill:
The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats.
The cuts would have reduced benefits that seniors receive from health plans in the program, which is intended as an alternative to Medicare.
Under cuts planned by the administration, insurers offering the plans were to see their federal payments reduced by 1.9 percent, which likely would have necessitated cuts for customers.
Instead, the administration said the federal payments to insurers will increase next year by .40 percent.
The healthcare law included $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage over 10 years, in part to pay for ObamaCare.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) on Monday said changes in the healthcare market meant it did not need to make those cuts to Medicare Advantage this year.
It cited an increase in healthy beneficiaries under Medicare, which it said has lowered projected costs for that program.
CMS separately is delaying a risk assessment proposal that was set to take affect under ObamaCare.
Now, keep in mind that there were Republicans who complained about these cuts as well, but because vulnerable Democrats who have been steadily losing support in their home states over Obamacare sounded the alarm bell, the administration decided to hold off on the cuts to Medicare Advantage… at least for this critical election year.
Anyone wanna predict the next delay or postponement King Obama will grant on behalf of his party in the next few months in order to try and help maintain their Senate majority and contain the damage in the US House?
(Hat tip: Memeorandum)