Monday, December 31, 2012

They Ask Why I Like Retirement !!!



Question: How many days in a week?
Answer:
6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday.


Question:
When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer:
Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.


Question:
How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer:
Only one, but it might take all day.


Question:
What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer:
There is not enough time to get everything done.


Question:
Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer:
The term comes with a 10% discount.


Question:
Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer:
Tied shoes.


Question:
Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer:
They are the only ones who have the time.

Question:
What is the common term for someone who enjoys work and refuses to retire?
Answer:
NUTS!

Question:
Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer:
They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.


Question:
What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer:
Normal .


Question:
What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer:
The never ending Coffee Break.



Question:
What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer:
If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.



Question:
Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people he used to work with?
Answer:
He is too polite to tell the whole truth.


And, my very favorite....

QUESTION:
What do you do all week?
Answer:
Monday through Friday, NOTHING..... Saturday & Sunday, I rest.



SERENITY


Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked,
'How old was your husband?' '98,' she replied.
'Two years older than me'
'So you're 96,' the undertaker commented.
She responded, 'Hardly worth going home, is it?



Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman:

'And what do you think is the best thing

about being 104?' the reporter asked.

She simply replied, 'No peer pressure.'



The nice thing about being senile is

you can hide your own Easter eggs.



I've sure gotten old!
I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement,

new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes.

I'm half blind,

can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine,

take 40 different medications that
make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.
Have bouts with dementia.
Have poor circulation;
hardly feel my hands and feet anymore.
Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92.
Have lost all my friends. But, thank God,
I still have my driver's license.



I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape,

so I got my doctor's permission to

join a fitness club and start exercising.

I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.

I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But,
by the time I got my leotards on,

the class was over.



An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and

told her preacher she had two final requests.

First, she wanted to be cremated, and second,

she wanted her ashes scattered over
Wal-Mart.
'Wal-Mart?' the preacher exclaimed.
'Why Wal-Mart?'

'Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week'.




My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.




Know how to prevent sagging?

Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.




It's scary when you start making the same noises

as your coffee maker.



These days about half the stuff

in my shopping cart says,

'For fast relief.'




THE SENILITY PRAYER :

Grant me the senility to forget the people

I never liked anyway,

the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and

the eyesight to tell the difference.


Always Remember This:

You don't stop laughing because you grow old,

You grow old because you stop laughing
.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

I believe that individual citizens are sovereign


FEUDALISM AND POLITICAL SOVEREIGNTY

In English common law in medieval times, meaning as late as the 13th century, the feudal legal system limited ownership of military weapons to members of the knightly class, and those classes over the knights. In other words, the ownership of weapons had to do with legal status.

The common man, meaning a peasant, could not be called into military service. Military service was a matter of inheritance of land and status, and this inheritance mandated military training, which created a military mindset. Thus, the weapons associated with this class, which was also a matter of social status, were not to be shared with the peasantry. This placed the peasantry at an obvious disadvantage in terms of military power. It also extended to political power. They had little political power. They were represented mainly by priests.

One of the marks of the knightly class was the right to wear armor. Armor was heavy. So, a peasant who had a simple walking staff was in a position to knock a knight off his horse. A knight in shining armor who was lying on the ground could not get up by himself. He was defenseless. So, the fact that a peasant was not allowed to carry a sword, or a bow and arrow, did not necessarily place him at a complete disadvantage, one-on-one, when dealing with a knight on horseback. It all depended on the tactics of surprise. The knight who was not expecting to be knocked off his horse might be at a disadvantage.

Peasants early on learned how to use walking sticks as weapons. Peasants could not be deprived of their walking sticks. So, they retained a degree of power which was not legally associated with their class. The movie scene of Robin Hood, an outlaw from the knightly class, battling Little John on a log over a stream was unlikely. Little John would easily have killed him. Knights were not trained in the use of staffs.

Anyone who possessed expensive weapons began with a competitive advantage in the use of power. The knightly class was careful to guard its legal rights. Magna Carta was a document created by the barons to defend their rights against the king. These rights were jealously guarded both against intrusions of power from below, as well as any intrusions from above. It was part of a hierarchical social and legal social order.

There is no question that, under most circumstances, the knightly class could deal with the peasants in the field of military battle. There were peasant rebellions from time to time. But, over the centuries, the knightly class did prevail against attempts by the peasants to overturn the legal status of the knightly class.

One of the advantages of this system was that civilians, meaning peasants and the people who lived in towns, were to be left alone by the warriors. They were not to be slaughtered in a military confrontation. Warriors were to do battle with other warriors. Warriors were not to use the specialized implements of warfare against civilians. This was a good arrangement for civilians.

GUNPOWDER

Gunpowder signaled the end of feudalism. It did not cause this decline, but it accompanied it. Armies became professional. Mercenaries appeared. Legal access to weapons was no longer based on birth and legal status. With the demise of the feudal order after the 14th century, and the rise of professional armies, which were funded by taxation rather than by a grant of land by the king to specific families, access to military training became available to common men. The more that the armies depended upon conscription, or payment by the central government, the greater the demands for the right to vote by the lower classes.

This demand became open during the Puritan revolution of the 1640s in England. Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army was made up of commoners as well as members of the higher social orders. Puritans believed in the exercise of the franchise in their local congregations. English Puritans were Congregationalists. They did not believe in a hierarchy of bishops, nor did they even believe in the hierarchy of presbyteries. Presbyterianism was a Scottish concept, not an English Puritan concept. So, with the triumph of Cromwell and the New Model Army, the issue of the franchise became an important political issue. Debates were held in 1647 within the New Model Army over what constituted the right to vote. The Levelers, who were not Communists, believed that the franchise should be extended to members of the New Model Army, irrespective of their wealth. This was opposed by the upper classes, including Cromwell, but there was an open debate over the issue. Cromwell's son-in-law, Ireton, argued for wealth, meaning personally owned land or money, as the basis of the right to vote. Rainsboro, a representative of the Levelers, argued that mere residence in the land should qualify a man to vote.

With the coming of the rifle in the 18th century, it became possible for independent farmers -- "peasants" -- to purchase the implements of war. These could be used for hunting. Civilians were still not part of the warrior class, but as the price of weaponry fell, beginning in the early 18th century, a shift of political power also began to take place.

In the second half of the 18th century, the common citizen in the British colonies of North America possessed a rifle. In most cases he was a man of the countryside. He had the ability to use it. For the first time, weapons that were available to common people had equal firepower to weapons available to the central government.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

So, the central government faced a crisis. The colonists in North America were in a position to resist the King's will. After 1763, resistance against the King's representatives increased, and the ability of the King to impose his will on these upstarts became more a matter of finances than technology.

The American Revolution was a revolution of common people who were armed with weapons. The long rifle, fired from a distance, was a formidable weapon. A man who could shoot straight at a distance of several hundred yards could kill an officer on horseback. Officers wore special uniforms. This enabled their troops to identify who was in charge. They rode on horseback, above the troops. There was a universal agreement among the warriors of Western Europe that they would not target the officers. This, of course, was an agreement among officers.

The Americans honored no such agreement. Americans would target the officers from hundreds of yards away. The chain of command of British troops was disrupted by the American rifle. This was considered unsportsmanlike. But the Americans did not honor the same rules and sportsmanship.

This is why the militias were the formidable opponents of the British Army. George Washington only had two major victories, Trenton in 1776 (won by surprise) and Yorktown in 1781 (won by the French Navy). His army was usually unable to make direct confrontations in the field with the British Army. In contrast, militia units, firing from a distance against massed armies, and then running into the woods, could not be dealt with by British Army tacticians. The British armies were always tied to the cities. They could not venture far into the countryside to get food, because too many of them would be gunned down by militia members. They were dependent upon the British Navy to deliver supplies to them.

It was therefore impossible for the British to win that war. For as long as the Americans would stay in decentralized units, firing from a distance into the organized troops of the British, the British could not extend military control, and therefore political control, over the Americans. The Americans kept fighting until British taxpayers grew weary of funding the war, and until the French, during one 30-day period, provided the naval support to block the British Navy from resupplying Cornwallis's Army. George Washington got the credit, as did the centralized army under his command, but it was the militia that had kept the British at bay for the previous five years.

Americans fully understood this when the leaders wrote the Bill of Rights in 1790. This is why the Second Amendment was inserted into the Constitution. The voters understood that it was their ability to fight any organized army, through the organization of the militia, which was basic to their concept of citizenship. It was the citizen warrior, armed with a rifle that was every bit as good as that possessed by members of the Army, who was perceived as possessing final political sovereignty. The whole concept of "we the people," which introduced the Constitution, rested on the well-known ability of the American citizen warrior to grab his rifle and fight.

DEMOCRACY AND WEAPONS

Professor Carroll Quigley of Georgetown University was an expert in the history of armaments in Western Europe. He is famous among conservatives for about 20 pages late in his book, Tragedy and Hope, in which he discussed the influence of the Morgan banking interests. Very few conservatives have ever read all of this book.

In chapter 2, "Western Civilization to 1914," on page 34, Quigley wrote a very important assessment of the relationship between weaponry and political power.

In a period of specialist weapons the minority who have such weapons can usually force the majority who lack them to obey; thus a period of specialist weapons tends to give rise to a period of minority rule and authoritarian government. But a period of amateur weapons is a period in which all men are roughly equal in military power, the majority can compel a minority to yield, and majority rule or even democratic government tends to rise. . . . But after 1800, guns became cheaper to obtain and easier to use. By 1840, a revolver sold for $27 and a Springfield musket for not much more, and these were about as good weapons as anyone could get at that time. Thus, mass armies of citizens, equipped with these cheap and easily used weapons, began to replace armies of professional soldiers, beginning about 1800 in Europe and even earlier in America. At the same time, democratic government began to replace authoritarian governments (but chiefly in those areas where the cheap new weapons were available and local standards of living were high enough to allow people to obtain).
The American Civil War transformed military tactics. The rise of the railroads and telegraphy made possible the coordination of the movement of mass armies. The only way that the American South could have won that war, other than simply by outlasting the Northerners on the battlefield, thereby weakening the will to continue the war among Northern voters, was to resort to guerrilla warfare. But the generals were mostly the products of West Point, or were promoted on the battlefield by graduates of West Point, and their concept was the same as George Washington's, namely, that centralized armies financed by the national government were the basis of military success. They were not in favor of guerrilla warfare. (This was not true of Nathan Bedford Forest, a businessman turned self-funded cavalry officer. He was a guerrilla, and he was highly effective.)

From the end of the Civil War until today, nations have been committed to what is sometimes called second-generation warfare. These are armies, navies, and air forces that can assemble massed firepower, using highly precise and very expensive weapons. These military units no longer can consistently defeat guerrilla movements on the ground. Fourth-generation warfare, meaning guerrilla warfare, is now reestablishing the sovereignty of the common man. Vietnam is the obvious case, but Afghanistan certainly qualifies. In the case of Afghanistan, the common man has always had the advantage. Nobody has been able to conquer Afghanistan for more than a few years. This goes back to Alexander the Great. The topography of the nation, and the commitment of its men to fight to the bitter end, meaning the bitter end of the invaders, has been such that these people have not been defeated.

The one Western European nation that fully understands this is Switzerland. Every Swiss male up the age of 60 is expected to serve in the military. Every Swiss male who serves in the military is expected to master the use of the rifle. It is a matter of honor to be a good rifleman in Switzerland. Bankers in their 50s compete against clerks in their 20s as marksmen. This has been true for five centuries. This is a nation of citizen warriors. It is a nation with a very weak central government, the weakest in the modern industrial world. The presidency is a symbolic office, and it is held on a rotation basis, with only one year as its term. Yet the nation's army can be mobilized in a matter of days. Switzerland has the longest history of political freedom of any continental European nation.

It is true that the Swiss surrender their ammo back to the local armory at the end of each summer's training. It is also true that the political tradition of democracy is so deeply ingrained that it would be impossible for any Swiss government to refuse to return those weapons the following summer. The Swiss are not a disarmed population. They simply let the government store the ammo during the year. The attitude is not that the government lets the citizens have access to weapons. The attitude is that the citizens allow the government to store the ammo. The mentality is completely different from the gun control advocates in the United States.

In every nation except Switzerland, gun control advocates want to centralize the ownership of any weapon that could be used systematically against agents of the government. This is not a random outlook. All the arguments about reduced crime are refuted by the statistics of increased crime whenever the government confiscates the guns of the population. Guns are as easily available to the criminal class as illegal drugs are available to the citizens and all other residents.

Gun control advocates insist that the centralization of gun ownership into the hands of the monopolistic government is a moral obligation. Why is it a moral obligation? It is a moral obligation because these people really do believe that the central government possesses legitimate original political sovereignty, an exclusive sovereignty, over the weapons that could be used against the central government.

It is one of those peculiarities that conservatives who say they believe in the right of gun ownership, and who sometimes even say that this is a means of defense against tyranny, are also in favor of invading foreign nations, when those foreign nations have adopted the concept of universal gun ownership that is comparable to the philosophy of American conservatism. The well-armed "little people" in Middle Eastern countries are able to defeat American invading troops, just as others like them did in Vietnam, precisely because the decentralization that is made possible by a diffusion of gun ownership and explosives is effective in combating the expansion of centralized political and military control. In other words, American troops cannot defeat these tiny countries, precisely because of widespread ownership of effective weapons that can be used against the occupying troops.

MILITIAS: REAL AND PHONY

I want to make it clear that I do not believe that it is possible, under anything like present conditions, for Americans to take up arms against the central government. In a period of financial crisis, in which the central government can no longer deliver the goods economically, and which therefore begins to lose its power to control local communities, there may be confrontations between armed camps. The obvious armed camps that I am thinking of are the gangs. The gangs are well armed, and in comparison with most small-town police departments, far better armed than the law enforcement agencies. The police know this. The gangs are ruthless, and they have something like a military chain of command. In a time of national economic breakdown, there will be some communities in which the gangs possess primary authority. This is true today in much of Latin America.

The best form of defense under such conditions would be for the local sheriff to deputize adult males and females who have proficiency in the use of weapons, and who are armed. This is the concept of the local posse. It is not an independent militia, because there is no such thing as an independent militia. In the early 20th century, under the direction of the New York lawyer Elihu Root, who is sometimes called the first chairman of the American Establishment, the federal government nationalized state militias. That was part of the Progressive movement's attempt to centralize political power in Washington. It was very effective. So, today, the militias are armed agencies of the federal government, even though they are technically under the command of governors. In any case, they are not local.

The citizens of the United States are so far removed from the citizens of the American colonies in 1776 that it would be inconceivable to organize a military resistance to the central government. I do not suggest that this be done. I do suggest that there is a relationship between the ownership of firearms and the assertion of political sovereignty. I do insist that the right to keep and bear arms is a symbolic affirmation of the ultimate political sovereignty of individual citizens over the central government. This was understood in 1790, and it should be understood today. I do not think it is.

I think the advocates of gun control understand very little about this symbolic relationship. They are usually advocates of the right to vote. They officially come down on the side of citizens' rights. But they do not understand the symbolic nature of the right to keep and bear arms as an affirmation of the authority of the citizen, armed with a gun and armed with the right to vote, to veto the decisions of political rulers through politics.

The defenders of Second Amendment liberties understand far better than the gun control movement that there is a connection between the right to keep and bear arms and the fundamental assertion of political sovereignty by the citizenry. They understand that the federal government's violation of Second Amendment liberties is part of a comprehensive program to centralize political power and to overcome the ability of citizens to use the ballot box to resist the extension of this centralized political power.

I do not think that many advocates of the Second Amendment believe that there is going to be a time when American citizens get their guns, leave their homes, and somehow adopt urban guerrilla warfare tactics. But they do understand that the gangs may do this. They do not believe the local authorities will always be in a position to defend them against criminal violence. They understand that the decentralization of weapons ownership is basic to the preservation of peace in society, because guerrilla groups, which the gangs are, are mobile, well-armed, well-organized, and ruthless.

I am arguing that the citizen who owns defensive weapons, and was trained in their use, constitutes the great barrier against centralized power from above and decentralized criminal violence from below. It is the man in the middle, the armed voter, who is the backbone of Western liberty.

Whenever a political movement seeks to disarm the citizen, it is necessarily simultaneously seeking to expand the power of the federal government, and also the power of armed criminals, including gangs. By disarming citizens, the state asserts an ultimate sovereignty over them, and yet it is incapable of carrying out this assertion of sovereignty in local affairs.

The central government can do almost nothing about the gangs. It can do very little against criminal behavior. The decline in crime that we have seen over the last 30 years has been mainly a social phenomenon. The biggest single factor is that men tend to commit fewer crimes as they get older. Also, married men commit fewer crimes and acts of violence. The high point of crime in the West was around 1980. This was also the low point of age. After 1980, the average age of residents of the West began to increase. Crime rates dropped. This was not because the federal government became more adept at fighting crime.

Members of fringe groups call themselves patriots, and sometimes call themselves members of a militia. They adopt a kind of suicidal romanticism regarding their ability to resist the armed forces of the United States. These weekend warriors may go out and stumble around in the woods, armed with semiautomatic rifles, pretending that they would be able to stay in the field for six or seven years, on their own authority, with their own productivity, supported by rural people who see them as liberators. That might have worked in Southern states in 1863, but it does not work today. There are too few people in the rural areas to support roving bands of militia members. These militias would become the equivalent of gangs in short order. Fortunately, they are too incompetent to achieve the status of gangs.

SYMBOLIC OWNERSHIP

For most gun owners, the ownership of firearms is more symbolic than practical. Most people do not spend a week or two in the summer practicing their skills at shooting. This is what all males in Switzerland do every year. The Swiss are serious about their ability to defend their country against invasion. Americans believe that the government, meaning the federal government, is supposed to do this.

When the federal government proves incapable of doing this, especially along the southern border of the United States, some conservatives seek to empower state governments to do it. The federal government resists this, because the federal government recognizes that this is an assertion of state's rights and state sovereignty. The federal government is happy to let immigrants flow into the United States across our southern border, because there is really not much that the government can do about it, other than to authorize state governments to do something about it, or county governments to do something about it, and the federal government is not about to do that.

I am arguing, therefore, that for most gun owners, most of the time, the ownership of firearms is more symbolic than practical. This is also true of gun control advocates. I do not think most gun control advocates believe that there is a vast right-wing conspiracy that is chomping at the bit to take up arms, get organized, leave their middle-class lifestyle behind, and overturn the United States government. If any gun control advocate believes this, he has approximately the same connection with reality as the weekend militia member does, stomping around in the countryside with his buddies.

Symbols are important. A citizen who has the right to keep and bear arms, even though he is not planning to join the state militia, which is in fact an arm of the federal government, understands that he possesses a degree of sovereignty that is not possessed by citizens in nations that prohibit widespread firearm ownership. He understands that he is in a unique situation. He still has the fundamental marks of political sovereignty, namely, firearms. His firearms testify to the fact that the central government does not yet feel sufficiently confident to confiscate his firearms in the name of the central government's exclusive monopoly of violence. His firearms testify to the fact that he is still a citizen, and that he still possesses rights that politicians and bureaucrats cannot legally overturn.

The reason why gun control advocates want this right overturned is because they are in favor of centralized political control. They believe that their class, namely, the intellectual class, is in control of the agencies of civil government. For the most part, this assumption is correct. They assume that their class, and only their class, has the wisdom to allocate weapons. They believe that their class alone possesses the right to determine which citizen has access to weapons, under which circumstances, and for how long.

In effect, the gun-control advocate is rather like a medieval knight in the 15th century. He resents the fact that weapons are becoming cheaper, and that the common man who joins the Army becomes a threat to his social class, and therefore to his social standing. He resents the fact that his weapons no longer give him a monopoly of violence. Weapons have come onto the market, and these weapons can be used effectively by commoners who do not spend decades of training in their use.

The citizen soldiers of the late 18th century faced the problem of the local militias. Professional soldiers found themselves facing common men who could assemble together in the fields, shoot their officers at a distance, shoot the scouts who went out into the field to find them, and then disappear into the woods. Tactics changed, and then strategies changed.

CONCLUSION

I believe we are coming close to the end of the nation-state as we have known it for the past 500 years. I believe that the military historian, Martin van Creveld, is correct. The central governments are running out of solvency, and their ability to provide protection against crime and also provide retirement benefits for the mass of humanity, is in decline.

Over the next half-century, and perhaps even less, politicians are going to realize that they can no longer protect citizens against armed criminals locally, and they cannot afford to support their aging populations. At that point, there will be a transfer of legitimacy back in the direction of local civil government. Local civil governments will rest heavily upon armed citizens who are in a position to be deputized.

So, I expect a greater decentralization. This decentralization will take place most rapidly in societies where citizens have never surrendered their right to keep and bear arms. This is why I think the United States is the most likely nation to be the working model for this process of decentralization. Americans are more heavily armed than any other people in the democratic world. They may not be as heavily armed as rural residents of Afghanistan, but they are surely better armed than any other Western nation except Switzerland.

I doubt that my view of the Second Amendment is widely shared in those circles that are committed to the defense of the Second Amendment. My defense of the second amendment is based on a particular concept of political sovereignty. I believe that individual citizens are sovereign, not because of a grant of authority by the state, but because of a grant of authority by God. The state therefore does not have the right to confiscate the firearms of the people, precisely because the state did not make the original grant of sovereignty to the people.

Firearms are marks of political sovereignty. They should be defended on this basis, not on the basis of some hypothetical revolution, which is not going to take place. I am saying that such a revolution is not necessary, precisely because the people do possess the right to keep and bear arms. They need not take up arms against the government, precisely because they already possess the arms.

Obamacare - The law’s implementation is turning into one pratfall after another -



from the Wall Street Journal – For sheer political farce, not much can compete with ObamaCare’s passage, which included slipping the bill through the Senate before dawn three Christmas eves ago. But the madcap dash to get ready for the entitlement’s October 2013 start-up date is a pretty close second.

 The size and complexity of the Affordable Care Act meant that its implementation was never going to be easy. But behind the scenes, even states that support or might support the Affordable Care Act are frustrated about the Health and Human Services Department’s special combination of rigidity and ineptitude.

 To take one example, for the better part of a year states and groups like the bipartisan National Governors Association and the National Association of Medicaid Directors have been begging HHS merely for information about how they’re required to make ObamaCare work in practice. There was radio silence from Washington, with time running out. Louisiana and other states even took to filing Freedom of Information Act requests, which are still pending.

 Now post-election, new regulations are pouring out from HHS—more than 13,000 pages so far and yet nuts-and-bolts questions are still unanswered. Most of what we know so far comes from a 17-page question-and-answer document that HHS divulged this week, though none of the answers have the force of law and HHS says they’re subject to change at any moment.

 HHS is generally issuing rules with only 30 days for public comment when the standard is 60 days and for complex regulations 90 days and more. But the larger problem is that HHS’s Federal Register filings reveal many of the rules were approved in-house and ready to go as early as May. Why the delay?

 To take another example, the feds are building a data hub to determine who is eligible for Medicaid and ObamaCare’s “exchanges,” the bureaucracies that will dispense insurance subsidies and police the market. Many states have cut administrative costs by combining the application process for Medicaid, food stamps, cash assistance and other antipoverty programs, but HHS’s privacy rules say the hub can only be used for ObamaCare. So HHS will force states to become less efficient and flatly refuses to reconsider.

 In a word, HHS is treating the states not as the partners it needs to give ObamaCare any chance of success, but as serfs.

 HHS did finally if “conditionally” approve the exchange blueprints of six states this week, though it has yet to release any formal objective standards for conditional approval. Some 24 states are refusing to participate, so the agency will be running a federal fallback exchange that it won’t reveal how it will operate.

 A federal exchange is a vast undertaking. The clearinghouses will be open to the uninsured but also to small businesses and people who already buy plans on the individual market. On average about a quarter of a state’s population are expected to at least browse the exchange options, and the share will be far higher in states with large numbers of uninsured people under 65, like New Mexico (24%), Georgia (22%) and Texas (27%).

 If 20% of Americans use exchanges, that’s 62 million people. At a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Thursday, ObamaCare point man Gary Cohen all but took the Fifth on how he’ll deal with this and other challenges.

 The exchange naysayers now notably include Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bill Haslam of Tennessee. Sure, they’re Republicans, but both Governors flirted with the idea and wanted to participate if it would result in a saner and more rational marketplace. The costs and risks were too high.

 HHS also declared this week that states can decide either to expand Medicaid (after the Supreme Court decision made it optional), or not. But states are not allowed to make the partial expansion that many states would have considered. This all-or-nothing political gambit is meant to put the Governors in a bad political spot at home if they don’t expand, but the irony is that many of them would participate if HHS gave them more flexibility to manage their own programs and control costs.

 Yet HHS has made it almost impossible to qualify for Medicaid waivers. States aren’t even allowed to “go green” by using digital instead of paper applications. These “maintenance of effort” rules weren’t carved in stone tablets by LBJ. HHS formalized them in a regulation this February.

 ***

 In other implementation hilarity, no fewer than 18 Democratic Senators and Senators-elect came out last week against ObamaCare’s $28 billion tax on medical device sales—and not just the usual penitents from Massachusetts and Minnesota. The list includes Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Patty Murray.

 “With this year quickly drawing to a close, the medical device industry has receive little guidance about how to comply with the tax—causing significant uncertainty and confusion for businesses,” they write about the tax most of them voted for.

 The last entitlement to get off the ground was President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug benefit. Those rules were tied up with a bow by January 2005, giving business and government nearly a year to prepare—and that was far simpler than re-engineering 17% of the economy. No one knows where the current magical mystery tour is headed, especially not HHS.

Post Obamacare Rates WILL Increase!


Last week, Aetna, the third-largest private health insurer in the U.S., held its annual investor conference in New York, in which company executives laid out their detailed assessment of the post-election environment for health insurance. Aetna’s comments, and those of its peers in similar settings, illustrate how Obamacare will dramatically drive up the cost of health insurance in the United States.
“In some markets,” said Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, increases in premiums could “go as high as 100 percent. And we’ve done all that math. We’ve shared it with all the regulators. We’ve shared it with all the people in Washington that need to see it. And I think it’s a big concern.”
 “Premium rate shock for 2014,” responded Bertolini, “absent subsidies and everything else, is going to be in the neighborhood of 20 percent to 50 percent. And we’re going to see some markets [and] in sub-segments in some markets go as high as 100 percent.”
“Just one piece alone, more than half of the U.S. public [in the individual insurance market] is in a plan at 50 percent or lower actuarial benefit. If you go up to 60 percent, as required by law, you’ve got a huge bump already,” Bertolini noted. “And this is the reason why you’re seeing such pressure between the states and the federal government on exchanges. Whose exchange do you want to show that price increase on?”
Aetna said that it plans to participate in exchanges in “up to” 15 states in 2014, representing 65 to 70 percent of the exchange-eligible population, but that the company would “approach exchanges with caution” until it is “confident they represent a rational and stable marketplace…After a transition period, if Aetna cannot earn its cost of capital on exchanges, we will exit market areas.
Bertolini also elaborated on the type of insurance that Aetna would provide on Obamacare’s exchanges. “It’s about having the right products at the right cost structure, [with] narrow networks, low-cost networks,” he said. That is to say, Aetna’s exchange products will aggressively steer patients to low-cost doctors and hospitals so as to keep premiums low.
If exchange rates do end up in between Medicare and Medicaid, Americans who enroll in the exchanges will have the worst of both worlds: a costly insurance product that doesn’t grant them access to a wide range of doctors and hospitals, making it difficult to get access to needed care.
It’s the perfect government solution. Worthless health care that you can’t afford and can’t opt out of paying for. Socialism wins again.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Mark of the Beast?


The signs keep getting clearer and clearer. A hundred years ago no one could imagine how we could have a mark that would have all of our personal information on it. Today there are groups who are promoting micro-chipping everyone with identification information. Remember what is written in Revelation 13:15-18



The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. (NIV)
 In Obamacare there is a provision for a micro-chip to hold patient information so that it is always with them. A company called HealthLink is already promoting an implantable micro-chip to provide that information to any patient care facility equipped with the reader. Doctors say this will be a life saving technology as it will take out the guess work when someone is injured and made unconscious. They are really beginning to push this technology.

Our passports have a RFID chip embedded in them by which the passport can be verified, and, quite possibly, tracked. The technology is there. In a chip the size of an uncooked grain of rice can be stored all of your personal information as well as a capacitor and antenna coil enabling the transmission of that data. To where? Controlled by whom?

So what is next? It is foreseeable that all of our credit history, bank account information, birth, education, and health information can be put on a micro-chip and embedded. Is it far from that to the point where you cannot buy anything without the chip, that cash becomes truly a bygone item. In the sixties they started talking about a cashless society but that was with the introduction of the first VISA cards. We then progressed to debit cards, so we wouldn't need to write checks. Now many do most of the banking and bill paying online with no actual cash changing hands.

Are we seeing bible prophecy actually happening? Remember, the Book of Revelation was written around 70 AD. The idea of micro-chips was not even close to being thought of back then yet the author of the Book of Revelation was able to give prophetic writings of what is happening today.

Beware the mark of the beast.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What is wrong with this picture?


Someone please tell me what the HELL's wrong with all the people that run this country!!!!!! Both Republicans & Democrats!

We're "broke"and can't help our own Seniors, Veterans, Orphans, Homeless, etc.,???????????

In the last years we have provided direct cash aid to:
Haiti - 1.4 B,
Hamas - 351 M,
Pakistan - 2 B,
Libya 1.45 B,
Egypt - 397 M,
Mexico - 622 M,
Russia - 380 M,
Haiti - 1.4 B,
Jordan - 463 M,
Kenya - 816 M,
Sudan - 870 M,
Nigeria - 456 M,
Uganda - 451 M,
Congo - 359 M,
Ethiopia - 981 M,
Pakistan - 2 B,
South Africa - 566 M,
Senegal - 698 M,
Mozambique - 404 M,
Zambia - 331 M,
Kazakhstan - 304 M,
Iraq - 1.08 B,
Tanzania - 554 M,

with literally Billions of Dollars and they still hate us!!!!

Our retired seniors living on a 'fixed income'  receive no aid nor do they get any breaks while our government and religious organizations pour Hundreds of Billions of $$$$$$'s and Tons of Food to Foreign Countries!

We have hundreds of adoptable children who are shoved aside to make room for the adoption of foreign orphans.

AMERICA: a country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed hungry, elderly going without needed medication and mentally ill without treatment -etc.

YET.......

They have a 'Benefit' for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations, ships and planes lining up with food, water, tents clothes, bedding, doctors and medical supplies.

Imagine if the *GOVERNMENT* gave 'US' the same support they give to other countries.

Sad isn't it?

Even The Democrats want to stop Obamacare


The nightmare that is Obamacare is starting to kick in and become one big hangover for all Americans—including 16 Senators who actually voted for it, but are now trying to delay its consequences.

The 2.3 percent medical devices tax is scheduled to take effect January 1st, and now 16 Democratic Senators who voted for the Affordable Care Act are asking that the tax be delayed, as it is “job-killing” according to Senator Al Franken; and they say it will hurt American competitiveness.

You don’t say?

Their letter to Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid reads in part:

“…we write to request a delay in implementation of the medical device excise tax. [W]e must do all we can to ensure that our country maintains its global leadership position in the medical technology industry and keeps good jobs here at home. [W]e urge you to support delaying enactment of this provision in a fiscally responsible manner.”
We have told you before, this legislation is a nightmare for America and the reality is just beginning to creep in as 2013 looms on the horizon. The medical device tax is just one spoke in the wheel of the bus called Obamacare that is about to run us over.

The Heritage Foundation published “The Case Against Obamacare,” a policy series for the 112th Congress. In it, they outline the many threats Obamacare poses to our society, and our economy, including:

•           The mandate to purchase insurance, which violates our liberty
•           The myriad taxes coming our way, which will hurt consumers and our economy
•           The burdens on businesses, which will destroy jobs
•           The insurance benefit mandates, which will raise our premiums and reduce patient choice
•           The Medicare cuts, which will damage seniors’ coverage options and jeopardize access
•           The government’s role in health care and ethics, which will weaken the protection of life and give sacred decision-making authority to the state

Get ready, America: The private health care market is about to experience a complete takeover by the federal government and every American citizen is going to be forced to buy insurance. It is killing jobs, raising taxes, destroying choice and limiting freedom. We need to repeal it, now. Even Democrats who overwhelmingly supported it are beginning to change their minds.

Sixty percent of Americans disagree with the health care takeover, and that is a large enough percentage to join our voices together and fight for repeal. It doesn’t matter that Obama was re-elected, or that the Supreme Court ruled on loophole language that all Americans could be forced to buy insurance (although they have allowed Liberty University’s lawsuit to go forward, questioning whether the law blocks religious freedom); it doesn’t matter because there are still ways to hinder the government takeover and stop Obamacare from taking full effect.

Obamacare needs state-run health insurance exchanges—huge government bureaucracies—in order to operate. But, Obama’s bill can’t mandate that states create exchanges. So, states can fight back by refusing to set these up and thus, crippling the legislation. And some already have, such as Louisiana, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and Oklahoma.

A majority of Americans don’t want this atrocity to stand, so we have to do everything we can to block it. Sitting back and admitting defeat is the worst thing we can do, because once all the tentacles of Obamacare are locked into place, it will be impossible to get rid of it. Right now, there are still ways to stop it.

Daniel Horowitz at RedState wrote:

“If Obamacare is allowed to survive, then our Constitution has no meaning and our Republic is finished. It will engender a takeover of 1/6 of our economy, create permanent dependency, induce unsustainable inflationary pressure on the cost of health care and health insurance, and saddle the next generation with crippling debt.”
If any politician is interested in salvaging their integrity and truly looking out for the middle class in America, they will do whatever it takes to defund Obamacare policies, disrupt implementation (especially at the state level) and work on repealing it. They have to know we are still upset over this nightmare and we will not stop until it is gone.

Obamacare means a loss of freedom for all Americans and comes with a fiscal price tag well over the $1.15 trillion alone it will add to federal spending. It is almost criminal to ignore the many consequences of this disaster. Contact Congress today and help Conservative Daily continue the fight against Obamacare

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Benghazi Lies Revisited


JERUSALEM – Information surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi has been so distorted by the Obama administration and so misreported by the news media that the issue was selected as WND’s “Biggest Lie of the Year.”
Immediately following the attacks, President Obama and other White House officials notoriously blamed supposed anti-American sentiment leading to the violent events on an obscure anti-Muhammad video on YouTube they claimed was responsible for supposedly popular civilian protests that they said took place outside the U.S. mission in Benghazi – protests, they claimed, that devolved into a jihadist onslaught.
However, vivid accounts provided by the State Department and intelligence officials later made clear no such popular demonstration took place. Instead, video footage from Benghazi reportedly shows an organized group of armed men attacking the compound, the officials said.
‘Consulate’?
Media coverage of the events has been so dismal that even the most basic understanding of what happened is being distorted. The vast majority of all news media coverage worldwide refer to the U.S. facility that was attacked as a “consulate,” even though the government itself has been careful to call it a “mission.”
WND has filed numerous reports quoting Middle East security sources describing the mission in Benghazi as serving as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East.
Among the tasks performed inside the building was collaborating with Arab countries on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the officials said.
Whether the news media report on what was allegedly transpiring at the mission or not, their calling the building a “consulate” is misleading.
A consulate typically refers to the building that officially houses a consul, who is the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another. The U.S. consul in Libya, Jenny Cordell, works out of the embassy in Tripoli.
Consulates at times function as junior embassies, providing services related to visas, passports and citizen information.
On Aug. 26, about two weeks before his was killed, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens attended a ceremony marking the opening of consular services at the Tripoli embassy.
The main role of a consulate is to foster trade with the host and care for its own citizens who are traveling or living in the host nation.
Diplomatic missions, on the other hand, maintain a more generalized role. A diplomatic mission is simply a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organization present in another state to represent matters of the sending state or organization in the receiving state.
However, according to a State Department report released last week, the U.S. facility in Benghazi did not fit the profile of a diplomatic mission, either.
According to the 39-page report released this week by independent investigators probing the attacks at the diplomatic facility, the U.S. mission in Benghazi was set up without the knowledge of the new Libyan government, as WND reported.
“Another key driver behind the weak security platform in Benghazi was the decision to treat Benghazi as a temporary, residential facility, not officially notified to the host government, even though it was also a full-time office facility,” the report states. “This resulted in the Special Mission compound being excepted from office facility standards and accountability under the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 (SECCA) and the Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB).”
The report, based on a probe led by former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering, calls the facility a “Special U.S. Mission.”
The report further refers to the attacked facility as a “U.S. Special Mission,” adding yet another qualifier to the title of the building.
Violated international law?
WND also exclusively reported the facility may have violated the terms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which governs the establishment of overseas missions.
Like most nations, the U.S. is a signatory to the 1961 United Nations convention.
Article 2 of the convention makes clear the host government must be informed about the establishment of any permanent foreign mission on its soil: “The establishment of diplomatic relations between States, and of permanent diplomatic missions, takes place by mutual consent.”
According to the State report, there was a decision “to treat Benghazi as a temporary, residential facility,” likely disqualifying the building from permanent mission status if the mission was indeed temporary.
However, the same sentence in the report notes the host government was not notified about the Benghazi mission “even though it was also a full-time office facility.”
Article 12 of the Vienna Convention dictates, “The sending State may not, without the prior express consent of the receiving State, establish offices forming part of the mission in localities other than those in which the mission itself is established.”
If the Benghazi mission was a “full-time office facility,” it may violate Article 12 in that the mission most likely was considered an arm of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, which served as the main U.S. mission to Libya.
Rice in hot water
Obama was not the only White House official to mislead on Benghazi.
As WND reported, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice may have deliberately misled the public when she went on television news shows and called the facility that had been targeted a “consulate.”
Much of the media attention and political criticism has been focused on Rice’s other statements immediately after the Benghazi attacks, primarily her blaming an obscure YouTube film vilifying the Islamic figure Muhammad for what she claimed were popular protests outside the U.S. mission.
Video and intelligence evidence has demonstrated there were no popular protests outside the Benghazi facility that day and that the attack was carried out by jihadists.
However, in defending itself against recent claims that the White House scrubbed the CIA’s initial intelligence assessment on the Benghazi attacks of references to al-Qaida, Obama administration officials might have unintentionally implicated themselves in another, largely unnoticed scandal.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes contended the White House made only small, factual edits to the CIA’s intelligence assessment, referring to one edit in particular.
“We were provided with points by the intelligence community that represented their assessment,” Rhodes said aboard Air Force One en route to Asia. “The only edit made by the White House was the factual edit about how to refer to the facility.”
Rhodes said the White House and State Department changed a reference in the CIA report from “consulate” to “diplomatic facility.”
“Other than that, we were guided by the points that were provided by the intelligence community,” Rhodes said. “So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made.”
Further, Politico reported Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was adamant that the White House only changed the reference to the Benghazi facility.
“There was only one thing that was changed … and that was, the word ‘consulate’ was changed to ‘mission,’” Feinstein said. “That’s the only change that anyone in the White House made, and I have checked this out.”
If the White House intentionally changed the reference to the Benghazi facility from a “consulate” to a “mission,” why did Rice repeatedly refer to the facility as a “consulate” when she engaged in a media blitz in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack?
In a Sept. 16 interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Rice twice labeled the facility a “consulate”:
In a subsequent interview on CBS’s “This Morning,” she again referred to the facility as a “consulate.”
CBS, Reuters implicated in misleading, hiding info
The news media, meanwhile, may have been complicit in covering up the Benghazi tale.
Two days before last month’s presidential election, CBS posted additional portions of a Sept. 12 “60 Minutes” interview where Obama made statements that contradicted his earlier claims on the attacks.
In the finally released portions of the interview, Obama would not say whether he thought the attack was terrorism. Yet he would later emphasize at a presidential debate that in the Rose Garden the same day, he had declared the attack an act of terror.
Reuters was also directly implicated by WND in possibly false reporting.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Reuters filed a report quoting a purported civilian protester by his first name who described a supposedly popular demonstration against an anti-Muhammad film outside the U.S. building – a popular protest that reportedly didn’t take place and thus could not have been related to the film.
Aid to al-Qaida, other jihadists?
WND has published a series of investigations showing the Benghazi mission was highly involved in the rebel-led Mideast revolutions to which Pickering is tied.
WND was first to report the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, according to Middle Eastern security officials.
In September, WND also broke the story that the slain ambassador, Christopher Stevens, played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime, according to Egyptian security officials.
Last month, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels that was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.

Most news media outlets covering the results of Pickering’s investigation did not note the possible non-diplomatic nature and status of the Benghazi mission.
The group reportedly concluded that systematic management and leadership failures at the State Department led to “grossly” inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi.
“Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the panel said.
The report pointed a finger at State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs, charging a lack of coordination and confusion over protecting the Benghazi mission.
WND’s reporting showed how the distinction of the special status of the mission may help explain why there was no major public security presence at what has been described as a “consulate.” Such a presence would draw attention to the shabby, nondescript building that was allegedly used for sensitive purposes such as coordinating aid to the opposition.
The security officials divulged the building was routinely used by Stevens and others to coordinate with the Turkish, Saudi and Qatari governments on supporting the insurgencies in the Middle East, most prominently the rebels opposing Assad’s regime in Syria.
Stevens played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.
Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials.
The officials said Stevens also worked with the Saudis to send names of potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found to be directly involved in previous attacks against the U.S., including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials.
Questions remain about the nature of U.S. support for the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, including reports the U.S.-aided rebels that toppled Gadhafi’s regime in Libya consisted of al-Qaida and jihad groups. The U.S. provided direct assistance, including weapons and finances, to the Libyan rebels.
Similarly, the Obama administration has aided the rebels fighting Assad’s regime in Syria amid widespread reports that al-Qaida jihadists are included in the ranks of the Free Syrian Army.
During the revolution against Gadhafi’s regime, the U.S. admitted to directly arming the rebel groups.
At the time, rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi admitted in an interview that a significant number of the Libyan rebels were al-Qaida fighters, many of whom had fought U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but he added that the “members of al-Qaida are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.”
Adm. James Stavridis, NATO supreme commander for Europe, admitted Libya’s rebel force may include al-Qaida: “We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al-Qaida, Hezbollah.”
Former CIA officer Bruce Riedel went even further, telling the Hindustan Times: “There is no question that al-Qaida’s Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition. It has always been Gadhafi’s biggest enemy, and its stronghold is Benghazi. What is unclear is how much of the opposition is al-Qaida/Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – 2 percent or 80 percent.”