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Republicans Confront Health Chief on Secret ObamaCare Plan

A Republican House subcommittee chairman is accusing the Obama administration of secretly preparing a fallback strategy if the Supreme Court strikes down a major piece of its healthcare reform law later this year, even as officials publicly maintain that no plan exists.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, says federal officials are hiding a roughly 100-page document on the looming court case. The case, King v. Burwell, could cut off ObamaCare subsidies in three-quarters of states and potentially collapse the national marketplace.

Pitts confronted the head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about the plan, which he says is being circulated among senior officials, for the first time on Wednesday.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said she does not know of a planning document.


“This is a document I’m not aware of,” she said in response to Pitts’s questions, before moving on to outlining the negative affects of a ruling against the law. 

”We believe we do not have any administrative actions,” she reiterated.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) pressed Burwell further.

“I take you at your word that you haven’t seen the plan, but don’t you think it’s prudent that there should be a plan?” he said. “I hope I don’t have a primary opponent, I hope I don’t have a general election opponent, but I have a plan in case I do.”

Burwell held her line.

“We don’t have an administrative action that we could take so the question of having a plan, we don’t have any administrative action that we believe could undo the damage,” Burwell replied.

“The administration is just going to hold up your hands and say we surrender?” Barton added.

“We believe the law as it stands is how it should be implemented,” Burwell replied.

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) repeatedly also pressed Burwell on whether she knew of the planning document. Burwell did not categorically deny its existence, saying only that she does not know of it.

“If there is this document, and you know it, I would certainly like to know about a document, because I don’t have knowledge of a 100-page document,” Burwell said.

When Burwell again dove into the negative affects of a Supreme Court ruling against the law, Lance interrupted, “That’s filibustering.”

“I’m not familiar with the document you’re referring to,” Burwell replied.

Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) came to Burwell’s defense, noting that Republicans are supporting the high court challenge.

“It’s somewhat ironic that my Republican friends are demanding that the administration fix problems that they themselves created,” Engel said.

“As the Secretary said at the hearing, we have no plans that would undo the massive damage to our health care system that would be caused by an adverse decision, and we are not aware of a document that meets Chairman Pitts’ description,” an HHS spokesperson said in an email.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment and deferred to HHS.

Burwell this week wrote a letter sent to several GOP offices, including Pitts’s, warning that the administration has no plan to “undo the massive damage to our health care system that would be caused by an adverse decision” in the high court case.

If the Obama administration loses, roughly 7 million people could immediately lose their healthcare coverage. Nearly $30 billion in subsidies could be lost in 2016 alone.

With such high stakes, Republicans say the administration is surely preparing some way to avert disaster.

“It’s hard to fathom that the administration would bury its head in the sand and fail to engage in any contingency planning,” Pitts wrote in a statement Wednesday ahead of the hearing.

“No credible person would believe that,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) told The Hill on Wednesday.

“It would be executive malpractice not to have a plan, a contingency plan, for what happens when that court ruling comes down, and I’m going to assume that this government doesn’t practice executive malpractice,” he said.

The administration has already faced strong pressure from Republicans to show its hand ahead of the Supreme Court case.

Burwell’s appearance before the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month erupted into a contentious back-and-forth in which she refused to answer any questions about the court challenge. By the end of the two-hour exchange, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) had accused Burwell of acting in contempt of Congress.

Republicans have seized on the administration’s refusal to discuss the case as further evidence against ObamaCare.

“By admitting they have no contingency plan to assist the millions that may lose subsidies, the administration confirms how the misguided law is unworkable for the American people,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) wrote in a recent statement.

The administration’s silence is likely part of its strategy to influence the court ahead of the March 4 arguments.

Two former HHS officials have previously said they are confident the administration is preparing a backup plan.

“Of course they have one, they should all resign if they don’t,” said Tom Scully, an HHS official under former President George W. Bush. “And they certainly should not discuss it either.”

But the former officials said the administration could appear in a weak position if it admitted that it was making plans. And if the administration insists there is no “plan B,” it tells the justices that the country cannot afford a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.

Republicans have tried to gain points by preparing their own backup plans for the billions of dollars in subsidies that could be lost. This week, Hatch and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) became the latest Republicans to say they are crafting fallbacks.

The GOP largely agrees that Congress should not simply rewrite the text to make the subsidies legal. But the party lacks a consensus about how to deal with the fallout, both in the short term and long term, and which area of government should be responsible for those fixes.

“Unless those of us who oppose ObamaCare unite behind an approach that offers Americans a better alternative, we could lose the whole war,” Sasse wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published late Wednesday.

–Peter Sullivan contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:23 p.m.

Veterans Place Corrupt County Board Under Citizen’s Arrest – They Laugh, Until the Sheriff Shows Up

Don’t you love it when ordinary citizens bring justice to bear on corrupt politicians? Isn’t it even sweeter when our veterans do it? Well, that was what two military veterans did in Illinois to the Clark County Park District Board last year.

Illinois, like many states, is filled with corrupt politicians from the state legislature on down to the city and county level.
So, what are those that these corrupt public servants supposed to do about it? Two of them took action.
Kirk Allen and John Kraft, nicknamed the “Watchdogs,” decided that it was time to hold county public servants accountable. These two military veterans decided to deal with their County Board of Clark County Park District.
The Ocala Post reports on the two veterans’ efforts:
In an effort to take back their government from self-serving politicians and bureaucrats, Kraft and Allen established a group called the Edgar County Watchdogs. Through a combination of public pressure, Freedom of Information filings, lawsuits, and media exposure, they have created a system that deeply threatens Illinois’ corrupt, entrenched political establishment. They operate a blog called Illinois Leaks that exposes corruption at the state and local levels. The blog is so popular that, it is trusted more than the local paper.
Considering the fact that, according to Forbes, their home county’s government has racked up over $79 million in debt all on its own while serving only 18,000 residents, Kraft and Allen have their work cut out for them.
By relentlessly pursuing justice for even the smallest infractions by bureaucrats and politicians, the Edgar County Watchdogs have driven 102 public officials to resign from their posts, including 33 officials in Edgar County alone. The pair busted the mayor of Redmond for attempting to hold office while living out of town. They represented themselves in court and beat Illinois Assistant Attorney General Emma Steimel in a lawsuit seeking access to state e-mails. Officials who have resigned due to the Watchdogs’ efforts include a property tax assessor, the Edgar County board chairman, an entire airport board and its manager, the attorney for Kansas Township’s fire department, Shiloh’s superintendent of schools, and Effingham’s health department administrator, among others. After they exposed corrupt, illegal, and self-serving spending habits by the Ford-Iroquois County health department, the entire bureaucracy was dissolved. In some cases, federal agents have even stepped in to investigate and issue subpoenas to local officials after receiving tips from Kraft and Allen.
So, this isn’t these two veterans’ first rodeo.
The entire event involving the County Board was captured on video below.

On May 13, 2014, Kraft and Allen placed the Clark County Park District Board under citizen’s arrest for violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act, which is a Class C misdemeanor.
The response from board members demonstrated their arrogance towards those they served. They belittled the men and when the call for a vote to see if there would be public comment, one board member said “I vote no,” followed by the other five doing the same.

In fact, the board’s attorney, Kate Yargus, also told board members there would be no public comment at that night’s meeting and that the members were free to go, following Kraft’s announcement that they had been placed under citizen’s arrest.
As Yargus attempted to cite a statute, Kraft said, “Just sit down, you are making yourself look like a fool.”
Clark County Sheriff Jerry Parsley showed up in the middle of a situation that seemed like it was about to get out of hand. Though his deputies had been dispatched to the scene, Sheriff Parsley believed it would be best if he personally handled the situation. And handle it, he did.
Parsley knew the board was in violation of the Open Meetings Act because they were not allowing the public to speak and he said that Kraft handled the citizen’s arrest properly.
“It’s not that they should have. They’re mandated to,” Parsley said. “The people need to have their voice. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s a democracy.”
Though board members had laughed openly at the citizen’s arrest, which promptly stopped when Sheriff Parsley arrested six of the members. One board member was not arrested as he voted against them.
Though the board called Kraft and Allen “troublemakers,” both the Sheriff and the State Attorney’s Office viewed things quite different.
“Every citizen, in every state, county, and city, should take note,” said Kraft. “Make sure their local government officials are working for the people, and not for themselves.”
Most people complain about “doing something.” These two veterans didn’t complain, they just had enough. However, they knew enough about what was going on and what to do in order to get the job done… and they did it! This is an example to all of us of how we can hold elected public servants accountable.
I’ll be starting down that road with South Carolina’s US Senator Lindsey Graham (R) on Saturday, February 28 at 2pm EST at his office in Rock Hill for those that wish to come stand alongside me as we bring Round 2 (Take a look at Round 1 from January) of the AmericaAgain! Good Guys campaign to every federal representative in the nation this year! Let’s not talk anymore. Let’s get the job done!

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/02/veterans-place-corrupt-county-board-under-citizens-arrest-they-laugh-until-the-sheriff-shows-up/#mHrBe7dOGdx5dTrT.99

Obama Quietly Changes The Definition Of ‘Spouse’

Biden rubs his brow as Obama delivers a statement on legislation sent to Congress to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State from the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington
by Patrick Howley

The Obama administration re-defined the word “spouse” Tuesday to include gay couples.

The Department of Labor quietly issued a new 52-page regulation, to be published in the Federal Register Wednesday, updating the term “spouse” to include gay couples so that gays now get job-protected leave from work to care for their gay partner or partner’s children or parents under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The new definition applies to all gay couples who were legally married in states where gay marriage is legal, regardless of whether or not they now live in states where gay marriage is not legal. The IRS also adopted this “place of celebration” definition of residency after the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down at the Supreme Court.

The regulation is rife with progressive editorializing:

“The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division [WHD] revises the regulation defining ‘spouse’ under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993,” the regulation states. “Because of the Supreme Court’s holding in Windsor that section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, the Department is no longer prohibited from recognizing same-sex marriages as a basis for FMLA spousal leave.”the Department is aware that the language surrounding marriage is evolving and that not all married individuals choose to use the traditional terms of husband or wife when referring to their spouse.”

“The Department intended the proposed definition to cover all spouses in legally valid marriages as defined in the regulation regardless of whether they use the terms husband or wife. The Department adopts the definition of spouse as proposed.”

“Legal recognition of same-sex marriage has expanded rapidly and the Department anticipates that the number of States and countries recognizing same-sex marriage will continue to grow.”

Too Much Baggage

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CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS Hillary Clinton Paid $300,000 for a Speech Lecturing the Middle Class on How They Can Make Ends Meet

Hillary-Clinton2lady Clinton the poorHopefully, her instructions reveal how I can make six figures a speech, which would certainly come in handy.

Can you imagine the hubris of this woman — who has largely disappeared from public view as her “Smart Power” diplomacy initiatives have left the Middle East a boiling cauldron of death, torture, and pain — to dare lecture middle class Americans on making ends meet?

During a speech in Silicon Valley, Clinton, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, highlighted the displacement many workers have suffered as new technology has made many jobs obsolete. “The old jobs and careers are either gone or unrecognizable,” Clinton said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The old rules just don’t seem to apply, and, frankly, the new rules just aren’t that clear. “[If] we want to find our balance again, we have to figure out how to make this new economy work for everyone.”

Clinton also addressed Silicon Valley’s male-centric culture, one factor responsible for a notable gender pay gap in the tech industry and a shortage of women in the field. “We’re going backward in a field that is supposed to be all about moving forward,” the former senator and secretary of state said. Clinton herself is a counterexample: She earned a reported $300,000 for her speech, comparable to what she usually gets and more than all but a few highly prized male speakers (including her husband).

In virtually every way — and as documented by the very agencies he controls — the policies of the current Democrat President have laid waste to “the middle class”.

And that is precisely what Obama and Hillary were taught to do by their ideological mentor, Saul Alinsky.

A Rose By Any Other Name

The main lesson we learn from History is that we don’t learn from History.  The lack of historical perspective is, I believe, one of the major contributing factors in America’s current state.

People don’t realize that all of these novel fixes our collectivist leaders are shoving down our throats with regard to health care have been tried multiple times before.  Or that they have failed every time.

People don’t realize that preemptive imperial wars of aggression and suppression have been disguised as endless wars for peace since Sargon the Great marched out of Akkad to found the first known empire.

Running true to form most people, apparently including our national leaders both political and military and the news anchors for the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media, do not realize that ISIS is not an aberration in Islamic History.

Neither are the other forms of Islamic terrorist groups which have plagued the world since the late 1960s when Palestinian secular movements such as Al Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) began to target civilians outside the immediate arena of conflict.  These were self-proclaimed secular groups.  As pointed out by RAND’s Bruce Hoffman, in 1980 two out of 64 groups were categorized as largely religious in motivation; in 1995 almost half of the identified groups, 26 out of 56, were classified as religiously motivated; the majority of these espoused Islam as their guiding force.

Political versus Fundamentalist Islam

Political Islam, as opposed to fundamentalist or neo-fundamentalist Islam, posits a worldview that can deal with and selectively integrate modernity. In contrast, fundamentalist Islam calls for a return to an ontological form of Islam that rejects modernity; groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad are representative of fundamentalist Islam.

A Note on State Sponsors of Religious Terror Groups

Unlike the “secular” national, radical, anarchist terrorism which have been sponsored by states such as Libya, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, North Korea, and behind the scenes by the former Soviet camp, most of the religious Islamic terrorist groups have never been sponsored by states. Many Egyptian organizations emerged from the Egyptian domestic landscape. Algerian groups likewise were not sponsored by foreign states. Hezbollah certainly can be viewed as an Iranian surrogate, but other movements, while open to state assistance, remain operationally and ideologically independent.  ISIS is different in that it has declared itself to be a state.

This brings us to the willful disregard of easily accessible knowledge which brings all of our political and cultural leaders to constantly say:

  • That the forces of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations are not Islamic.
  • That these groups have somehow hijacked Islam or that they are merely criminals hiding behind Islamic names and slogans.

For one thing who are we to judge another’s faith?  If someone says they are followers of Muhammed who are we to say they aren’t?  If someone says they are doing their best to live by their interpretation of the Koran who are we to say they aren’t?

This is one of the reasons it is so hard to get even the most “moderate” of Muslims to denounce ISIS and the other Islamic Terror organizations. Even if they personally disagree with their theology and their methods there is enough in their declarations of faith that align with traditional strains of Islam. It would be like a Catholic saying a Pentecostal isn’t a Christian because they have differing views of the actions of the Holy Spirit in the modern day.

This refusal to admit the Islamic nature of these groups disarms the West.  We cannot understand what they want, what they do, or why they have such a strong hold on the lives of so many.  Another aspect of our official blindness that prevents us from confronting this clash of civilizations appropriately is the oft repeated mantra that those Muslims who support the radicals is a tiny group, often mentioned at 1%.  We are also reminded often that 1.6 billion people make up the Muslim world.  If this second figure is correct the tiny minority of the first figure translates to 16 million people.

Sixteen million people willing to fight to the death, blow themselves up, or financially support them is larger than any army ever fielded by Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, or Stalin.  Obviously this is a threat that should be taken seriously.  It should not be dismissed by ignoring what they say about themselves.  Imagine if the leaders of the western democracies had bothered to read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and believe that he meant what he said.  They could have stopped him when he marched into the Rhineland with no trouble whatsoever.  Instead they ignored what he said and fifty million people paid with their lives.

Today we stand in a similar place.  We ignored Osama Bin Laden when he declared war on America in 1988 and 1996 with disastrous consequences.  Now we are ignoring the inherent attraction of those who claim the Islamic world as their own when we say they are not motivated by their religion.  It strips us of the ability to understand them, their objectives, their appeal, and their tactics.

Another disservice our leaders are foisting on us is the other mantra of their secular religion that Islam is a religion of peace.  This flies in the face of historical reality.  Islam did not initially spread as Christianity did by the power of its message and the blood of its martyrs.  Islam spread as a conquering religion.  Muhammed conquered Medina and Mecca, forced unity on the disparate Arab tribes before bursting forth from the Arabian Peninsula and spreading through military conquest and forcible conversions.

Rod Dreher in the American Conservative has done a masterful job of asking two important questions, “Is ISIS Islamic? How would we know?”   Much of what follows is excerpted from his penetrating analysis.

To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide.  As if to show that he could terrorize by imagery alone, Adnani also referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as an “uncircumcised geezer.”

Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion. His exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of Kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic.  Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel contends that the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor.  Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States.  Haykel regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous and sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he saidAccording to Professor Haykel, “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else” Haykel continued.

In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day” says Haykel.

According to one thought passed along by Rod Dreher what we call “Islamic fundamentalism” or “Islamic extremism” is so hard to defeat because it is so clearly rooted in Islamic history and Scripture. To tell the followers of ISIS that they are “un-Islamic” in their practices when they are doing, or trying to do, exactly as the Prophet and his early followers did, is a hard sell to fellow Muslims.  It is also the kind of self-imposed blindness that stops us from effectively knowing what we are dealing with.

If we ignore what we know due to political correctness how will it ever be possible to do what needs to be done?  If we refuse to name something does that mean it isn’t what it claims to be?  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and an Islamic Fundamentalist is a follower of Muhammad no matter what we say or how we say it.  There are none so blind as those who will not see, and when the blind follow the blind they both end up in the ditch.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

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