In May 2013, the Washington Post reported that the IRS had illegally targeted conservative groups for additional reviews. Organizations with the words “tea party” or “patriot” were singled out for harassment, such as requiring them to provide a list of donors, details about their internet postings on social networking websites, and information about their family members.
When this was first reported by the media in May 2013, Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that had conducted these illegal activities, claimed that only low level employees had known about it, and that no high level IRS officials had known about it. However, soon afterward, NPR reported that an Inspector General report showed that Lerner had been lying, and that she herself had actually been aware of it since June 29, 2011. Even worse, during March and April of 2012, Lerner herself had actually written such letters to fifteen different conservative groups. One of these letters can be read here.
While testifying in May 2013, Lerner said, “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations. And I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.” However, afterward, she invoked her fifth amendment right to remain silent. The Washington Post reported that there was disagreement as to whether or not Lerner’s statement constituted a waiving of her fifth amendment right to remain silent. Soon afterward, she was placed on paid administrative leave. At a later hearing in March 2014, Lerner again invoked her fifth amendment right to remain silent.
At 3:25 in this video, Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for Obama’s State Department, refers to the five recently released Taliban terrorists as “gentleman.”
Fracking in Williston, North Dakota, drives unemployment rate to less than 1%, so Wal-Mart offers $17.40 an hour
A Wal-Mart in Williston, North Dakota is offering starting salaries of $17.40 per hour.
The reason that this particular Wal-Mart is offering $17.40 an hour has nothing to do with unions, social justice, compassion, or any other such thing.
Instead, it’s simple supply and demand.
In particular, the article says that fracking has made it possible to access oil which had previously been unobtainable. This has driven the unemployment rate to less than 1% in the city where this Wal-Mart is located.
This presents an interesting situation for anyone who favors higher wages while simultaneously opposing fracking, i.e, a large percentage of people on the political left. Tradeoffs are a common part of life, and I am interested in hearing what other people think of this situation.
The Daily Signal reports:
Why One Walmart in North Dakota Is Paying $17.40 an Hour
A Walmart store in Williston, N.D., is offering to pay entry-level workers as much as $17.40 per hour…
… the historic oil boom in North Dakota has provided real, sustained growth in wages and lowered unemployment in North Dakota to 2.6 percent—the lowest statewide rate in the nation—and to less than 1 percent in Williston, which is near the oil fields in the western part of the state.
Those jobs are safe for the foreseeable future, too. Last year, a study conducted by the United States Geological Service estimated conservatively that 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil sit beneath North Dakota. Scientists have long known about these oil reserves, but two miles of solid rock precluded development. Recent advances in hydraulic fracturing and smart drilling technology have made production possible and triggered the present economic boom.
This video is titled “Watch Obama smile as soon as Robert Bergdahl praises Allah.”
The description states:
Walid and Theodore Shoebat say that while the Obama administration is proudly touting how it was able to free an American soldier who was captured by the Taliban, what no one picked is the fact that Obama SMILED as soon as he heard the most famous war cry of Islam, “bismillah al-rahman al-rahim,” Arabic for “in the name of Allah the most gracious, the most merciful.”
Obamacare forces cancer survivor to lose her doctor, and her new Obamacare plan covers zero doctors within a 400 mile radius
Janet Grigg lives in Oklahoma and is a survivor of colon cancer. Obamacare caused her to lose coverage for her doctor. Her new Obamacare plan covers zero doctors within a 400 mile radius of her home.
I’m curious to hear anyone’s ideas about what could be done to solve this problem.
My proposal: shut down the D.C. public school system, give vouchers to the parents equal to 49% of what the public schools are currently spending, and use the other 51% to cut taxes.
What ideas do others here have on how to fix this problem? Please offer your ideas in the comment section.
CNS News reports:
DC Schools: $29,349 Per Pupil, 83% Not Proficient in Reading
The public schools in Washington, D.C., spent $29,349 per pupil in the 2010-2011 school year, according to the latest data from National Center for Education Statistics, but in 2013 fully 83 percent of the eighth graders in these schools were not “proficient” in reading and 81 percent were not “proficient” in math.
These are the government schools in our nation’s capital city — where for decades politicians of both parties have obstreperously pushed for more federal involvement in education and more federal spending on education.
The New York Times just reported:
Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day — or $36,500 a year — for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.
Obama’s actions here are illegal. There is nothing in Obamacare that gives Obama or the IRS the power to prohibit employers from dumping employees onto Obamacare exchanges, or for fining them $100 a day per employee for doing so.
Here are quotes from four legal experts saying Obama’s arrest of Dinesh D’Souza was politically motivated
In August 2012, Dinesh D’Souza released 2016: Obama’s America, a movie that was critical of Obama.
It has just been reported that Obama gave taxpayers’ money to Serco, an Obamacare contractor, to hire employees to do nothing. The more employees that Serco hired to do nothing, the more taxpayer money it got from Obama. At the time of the report, Serco was still hiring new employees.
I’ve updated my list of Obama criticisms. The list can be found at http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/obama-252/
The Washington Times reports:
House Republicans find 10% of tea party donors audited by IRS
Despite assurances to the contrary, the IRS didn’t destroy all of the donor lists scooped up in its tea party targeting — and a check of those lists reveals that the tax agency audited 10 percent of those donors, much higher than the audit rate for average Americans
Investigators last year reported that the IRS singled out tea party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status and gave them special scrutiny, including asking inappropriate questions about their activities and membership. The request for donor lists was among the inappropriate activities.
The IRS initially denied to Congress that it was singling out tea party groups, despite vocal complaints from groups that had their applications delayed for years.
Obama administration officials deny that the targeting was politically motivated
Republicans said 24 conservative groups were asked for their donor lists. The IRS initially told Congress that those lists were destroyed, but when they went through their files they discovered three lists that weren’t destroyed.
10 percent were audited — substantially higher than the average rate of 1 percent of average Americans who are audited each year.
I’ve updated my list of Obamacare criticisms. The list can be found at http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/obamacare-59/
I support states’ rights, and I don’t live in Vermont, so I don’t have anything against Vermont doing this.
I view this the way a scientist views an experiment. I’m curious to see how it turns out.
Will Vermont stick to its plan, or will they chicken out?
Will the federal government allow it to happen, or try to block it?
Will patients’ access to health care get better, worse, or stay the same?
Will the number of doctors per person in Vermont get bigger, smaller, or stay the same?
Will costs go up, down, or stay the same?
Will politicians, celebrities, and rich people participate in it, or will they find some way to get exemptions?
Only time will tell. And I am quite curious to find out.
Obamacare patient who got rejected by all 96 doctors that she contacted says she is “proud” of Obamacare
In Ebony magazine, Danielle Kimberly writes:
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.
Susan Estrich writes:
As I walked into the pharmacy, the technician who has kept track of all of my prescriptions for years was on an endless call trying to figure out who is going to deliver her baby and where.
The good news: Her new plan, which fully complies with the Affordable Care Act, provides much more comprehensive coverage and lower co-pays than the one she used to have.
The bad news: Neither the obstetrician who has taken care of her for the past six months nor the hospital where she had planned to give birth are covered by the plan.
Now, this young woman is really good at dealing with insurance companies. It’s what she does all day long — getting prescriptions approved, figuring out why they aren’t being approved, going back and forth with doctors and insurance companies about what they will and will not cover. No neophyte, she.
And as I signaled her that I could wait, that she should finish her conversation, she never lost her cool. Me, I would have been a wreck if someone had told me six months into a pregnancy that the doctor with whom I had developed a close and trusting relationship or the hospital that I had always relied on were no longer on my list, and that my choices — within any reasonable geographic distance — basically came down to six doctors I’d never heard of and a hospital I’d never set foot in.
She was not a wreck. But she wasn’t happy. Who would be? Six months pregnant and interviewing doctors who are themselves overwhelmed because they are, in fact, on so many plans.
The Staten Island Advance reports:
Obamacare confusion abounds on Staten Island
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Alexandra Porto believes in the premise of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act — to provide medical benefits for all Americans.
But when she, along with 13 of her colleagues at the Bloomfield-based Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC), received letters stating that their Empire BlueCross/BlueShield health plan will be canceled, she started to have second thoughts about what is commonly referred to as Obamacare.
“The letter said Blue Cross/Blue Shield will be ending our current policy, and it will be replaced with a new policy. It said new premium rates will take effect April 1,” said Ms. Porto, vice president of membership and outreach at the SIEDC.
“The problem is we don’t know what the new policy is or what the new premium rates will be, and we are being told by Empire BlueCross/BlueShield that we won’t have that information until Jan. 1,” she added.
And the folks at the SIEDC aren’t alone.
Ms. Porto said at least 13 SIEDC members — all small business owners with less than 50 employees on Staten Island — were informed that the health plans for their employees have been canceled.
Obamacare causes New York City brain surgery patient to lose all her doctors and anti-pain medications
The Staten Island Advance reports:
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — After receiving her new health coverage in January through the New York State of Health Marketplace, Arden Heights resident Margaret Figueroa, 49, who suffers from two chronic illnesses, went to her pharmacy to fill her prescriptions.
Although her insurance company, EmblemHealth, assured her she was covered, her insurance card was denied.
While she had signed up for new health coverage — because her insurance carrier dropped her old plan — the company’s internal paperwork apparently wasn’t filed.
She also learned that all her long-time doctors didn’t accept the new insurance plan.
For Ms. Figueroa, who suffers from a rare neurological disease called Arnold Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia, this has led to three months of excruciating pain, withdrawal symptoms and immobility.
“It’s hard,” said Ms. Figueroa, through her tears Wednesday at a press conference at Rep. Michael Grimm’s (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) New Dorp office.
“I have been in pain. I’ve been vomiting. I lost 22 pounds. The pain is unbearable. My medication helps me function during the day,” added Ms. Figueroa, who has undergone four brain surgeries for her conditions, which require her to take numerous amounts of medication.
After intervention by Grimm’s office, Ms. Figueroa was able to obtain some of her prescriptions on April 1 for which she had refills.
She takes five different medications several times per day, like morphine for the chronic pain and other medications to help slow the affects of her nerve damage.
But some of her prescriptions had no refills, forcing her to go without them for three months.
And Ms. Figueroa can’t find a doctor who participates in her new plan to write new prescriptions, give her referrals for pain management care, or treat her for her illnesses.
“Even though the insurance company cashed your check, it doesn’t mean it (the policy) has been implemented,” said Grimm.
“That’s the problem — that the back end of Obamacare hasn’t been fully built. You can go on the front end of an application and look at a list of plans, but what they don’t tell you is that many of those plans don’t have doctors yet.”
Ms. Figueroa said only six doctors in the borough accept her new health plan, and she has yet to be able to get an appointment with one.
Grimm says he’s dealt with at least one dozen Staten Islanders who have had similar issues as Ms. Figueroa after signing up for healthcare via the NY State of Health Marketplace.
“We didn’t solve anything (with Obamacare), all we did was destroy a good thing,” said Grimm. “Obamacare wasn’t ready for prime time.”
Obamacare forces Los Angeles family to buy dental insurance that covers zero dentists within 100 mile radius
Scot Vorse lives in Los Angeles, California. He writes:
I noticed in my new Anthem monthly premium under Obamacare that I was required to pay a separate monthly charge for dental insurance for my two teenage children (I also have to pay the monthly charge even though I don’t receive the benefits, but that is a different issue). This dental plan was assigned to me and not my particular choice.
Today, it is time to take my kids in for their six-month cleaning, so I checked to see if their dentist is covered under my plan. They are not. OK – there are other dentists. Let’s see about within five miles of my house. Nope – not a single one. Within ten? Nope. Within 20? Nope. Within 50? Nope. Finally, what about within 100 miles? Nope. What is even worse is that the Anthem search feature doesn’t expand past 100 miles. I don’t know if there is any dentist in California that accepts my plan.
Perhaps if I fly to Sacramento or Modesto I can find a dentist that accepts my mandatory-policy kids. I wonder if, after the cost of airfare, a teeth cleaning will still be “affordable.”
Mr. Vorse also included the following screencap, which shows that when he searched for an Obamacare dentist within 100 miles, the results said that there were zero Obamacare dentists within that 100 mile radius:
Obama voters in San Francsico area complain that Obamacare does not actually give them access to a doctor
Mountain View, California, is part of the San Francisco area, where Obama won both elections by a huge percentage. Obama voters in this area are complaining that Obamacare does not actually give them access to a doctor. KPIX, the CBS affiliate of San Francsco, reports:
Some Covered California Patients Say They Can’t See A Doctor
MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) – While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.”
Rotacare, a free clinic for the uninsured in Mountain View, is dealing with the problem firsthand.
Mirella Nguyen works at the clinic said staffers dutifully helped uninsured clients sign up for Obamacare so they would no longer need the free clinic.
But months later, the clinic’s former patients are coming back to the clinic begging for help. “They’re coming back to us now and saying I can’t find a doctor, “said Nguyen.
Thinn Ong was thrilled to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchange. She is paying $200 a month in premiums. But the single mother of two is asking, what for?
“Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong.
Nguyen said the newly insured patients checked the physicians’ lists they were provided and were told they weren’t accepting new patients or they did not participate in the plan.
And Nguyen says – while the free clinic isn’t technically supposed to be treating former patents they signed up for insurance, they can’t in good faith turn them away.
Dr. Kevin Grumbach of UCSF called the phenomenon “medical homelessness,” where patients are caught adrift in a system woefully short of primary care doctors.
Those who can’t find a doctor are supposed to lodge a complaint with state regulators, who have been denying the existence of a doctor shortage for months.
Meanwhile, the sick and insured can’t get appointments.
“What good is coverage if you can’t use it?” Nguyen said.
I’ve updated my list of Obama criticisms. The list can be found at http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/obama-252/
Judicial Watch reports that the Obama administration had secretly given military equipment to Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine.
I wonder what makes Obama’s supporters happier – the fact that he gave Russia this military aid after it invaded Ukraine, or the fact that he kept it a secret.
Of course if a Republican president did this, the so-called “peace activists” and “anti-war activists” would be livid with protest. But since Obama is a Democrat, they don’t mind at all. I’m sure they’d happily elect him for a third term if he wasn’t term limited by the Constitution.
This is the trailer for “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn,” a new Robin Williams movie that opens on May 23, 2014.
There’s a major spoiler at 1:36 in the trailer.
This spoiler can only decrease one’s enjoyment of the movie, and discourage people from seeing it, thus causing the movie studio to lose money. I’m not sure why they put the spoiler in the trailer, but it was a really, really, really bad idea.
Here’s the trailer. If you want to watch it but don’t want to see the spoiler, then stop it before it gets to 1:36.