The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘Obamacare’ Category


By it’s 6-3 decision that the IRS may interpret the PPACA (Obamacare) to include subsidies to those who purchase insurance through a Federal exchange rather than one established by the states as the law clearly states, the Justices made a political rather than a legal decision and while the President took a lap dance victory lap at the decision, the real winner in this decision was the GOP.  Sadly, I doubt that many of those in the race for the presidential nomination realize that – yet.

To borrow a phrase from Sophia of The Golden Girls, “Picture this” – we’re now at the point where the nominees for both parties have been selected.  And instead of today’s ruling, The Supreme Court ruled that the subsidies for many people were illegal.  Now we have a bunch of people who have had health insurance for several years who suddenly actually have to pay the full freight for that insurance, just like the vast majority of Americans who have insurance.  They naturally view that as being unfair – having to pay for what you bought.  (It’s a mindset that people who shoplift can well understand).

So, as we go into the final stretch before the 2016 election, you would see a flood of headlines in the liberal media and constant reference among the talking heads on television, that since Republicans (who did not vote for the law in the first place) did not provide a fix to an inherent (and I think intentionally designed flaw) in the original law, they are out to persecute minorities, the disadvantaged and everybody else who makes up the mindless mob that is at the core of the Democrat base and are, once again “throwing Granny under the bus.”  (Granny has more tread marks on her withered frame than a month’s output of product at a Michelin factory).

In a certain sense, the Court’s ruling today is irrelevant.  If you read the original law you understand that the IRS was vested with a tremendous amount of authority to administer it.  And that agency, which can’t comply with Federal archival registry laws regarding official documents, such as the Lois Lerner emails which it is only beginning to find several years after clearly stating that they were destroyed, had previously stated that in determining the subsidies to which an Obamacare health insurance participant they would rely on the word of the taxpayer as “they were unable to verify the information.”  Funny, they seem pretty capable of determining whether you or I have correctly reported our income.  Today’s ruling simply says that laws don’t matter and that unelected bureaucrats have free reign to do whatever they choose to do.

This decision does have significant implications that are completely unrelated to Obamacare.  Justice Scalia made that point in his scathing dissent from the majority opinion.  I think this decision might best be termed, “The Clinton Decision” – not for Hillary but for sometime hubby, Bill.

Remember back to Slick Willie’s impeachment trial and one of his responses to a question about his sexual activity within the Oval Office.  In typical legalistic fashion, then President Clinton answered one of the questions with the rhetorical question, “It depends on how you define ‘is”.”  We now know that the former president perjured himself under oath – and received a symbolic slap on the wrist with the revocation of his law license.  But in an age where politicians, bureaucrats and government officials regularly knowingly break the law which they are supposed to uphold and enforce – that is an attitude and climate that was the important part of today’s Supreme Court decision – which they essentially endorsed in their decision.

You cannot have it both ways.  If you think you’re justified in breaking this or that law, because it really doesn’t apply to you or really just isn’t that important, then why should you be disturbed if someone robs a convenience store or a policeman uses excessive force in apprehending or perhaps even killing a criminal suspect?

Thomas More’s speech to his son-in-law in A Man For All Seasons comes to mind in which he says he would give the Devil his due and the full protections of the law because if we start making exceptions, even for the Master of Evil, then “All the laws of England will come crashing down and then when the last law has fallen, where will we turn for refuge?”

And that is  what the Supreme Court has decided to inflict on the nation.  Hopefully, a wiser and more constitutionally oriented court in the future will undo the damage that was done by this court and return that august body to its proper role which is to interpret rather than make law.




It finally arrived – the long awaited envelope.  It had been well over a week since I had sent away for it – but my letter had to make it from New York to Arizona and then the response had to come all the way back.

I had found an ad in one of my “Fantasy and Science Fiction” magazines and had responded.  Who wouldn’t answer this ad?  It promised to send the person who clipped the ad a “secret” way to accumulate wealth without really having to do much of anything.  It didn’t matter if you were young or old, a PhD or a high school drop out, the system would bring riches to whoever used it.   It was the American dream – and the information would be sent absolutely free of charge.

Some people are motivated by theory and others by practical concerns.  In my case, I wanted to become a fourteen year old success because I was tired of sleeping on the Castro convertible sofa and sharing my “bedroom” with the “dining room.”  If I made a lot of money we could move from our small apartment into one of the new high rises that were being built throughout Manhattan.  My parents had looked at several apartments in these new edifices, but decided that quadrupling the rent for just a small amount of additional space just didn’t make sense or fit our budget.

When Grandma handed me the envelope containing the “secret system” I took it and held it with the reverence due a holy relic.  I went to my desk, placed my school books on the side and laid it gently in the middle of the blotter.  I took the seldom-used letter opener and carefully opened it, making sure that my cut was even and neat.  After I completed that I waited a minute or two before daring to pull out and read its contents.  But I finally summoned up the courage.

Before me I had a pamphlet that explained how a person could make a huge amount of money by getting into mail order.  I read every word of this brochure, replete with “testimonials” from people who were identified only by their first names and an initial for their surnames and the city in which they lived – stories about how they had made a small fortune in mail order thanks to the secret system.

And what was it that they were selling?  They were selling copies of a booklet that explained how to get into mail order – a copy of which was reserved for me – if I merely completed the enclosed order form and returned it with my five dollar remittance.  Once I had received my copy, I would have the opportunity to purchase additional copies which I could sell at a “huge profit” and the booklet would explain the step by step way of doing that.  To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

Even though I knew that something just didn’t add up, I was reluctant to give up so quickly on this opportunity to get my own bedroom.  So at dinner that evening I asked my parents to read the brochure and give me their opinion.  Needless to say, it did not survive their imprimatur.  Nevertheless, having explained why this was a scam  they still permitted me to purchase the book if I chose to spend my five dollars on it.  My parents allowed me to make my own mistakes – as long as they weren’t likely to be dangerous to my health or well being.  Their theory was that rather than hearing them preach, a little personal experience would be far more enlightening to me.

Even before I had given my folks the brochure I knew that something just didn’t sound right.  But I was hoping that I was wrong and that my parents would agree with my original opinion that I had latched on the key to riches.  After several days of soul searching, I concurred with my parents and tossed the brochure in the wastebasket.  My father summed up the experience with the statement, “When something seems too good to be true – it probably isn’t.”

In 2010 the Congress passed and President Obama signed the PPACA into law.  Now more commonly referred to as Obamacare, the law was touted by Obama and lawmakers who supported it as the best thing that had happened since the invention of sliced bread.  It offered every American the opportunity to get “affordable health insurance”; we would be able either to keep our existing insurance or get a better policy through the healthcare exchanges that were going to be established; despite the fact that these new policies would be better they would be less expensive; every American household would save $2500 per year for this insurance; and on top of all of that, this three thousand page bill would reduce the national debt.  It almost seemed too good to be true – and it wasn’t.

Nobody who took the trouble to read through the law believed that the promises could be delivered for a simple reason.  The numbers just didn’t add up – and they still don’t.  But without going into a detailed analysis of the math, if you think about the law’s purported primary goal – insuring all Americans with affordable, quality medical care – it should be clear that goal is inconsistent with providing quality healthcare.

Let’s assume that magically everyone suddenly signed up and there were no longer Americans who couldn’t see a doctor for lack of insurance.  How would this impact the quality of delivering medical services?  It would cause a lower quality of health care if, for no other reason, than that we have now added forty million potential patients to a system to which no new medical practitioners or hospital facilities have been added.  The overall effect would necessarily be longer wait times to get an appointment which in and of itself constitutes a decrease in the quality of healthcare.

We know that few if any legislators actually read the bill before voting to approve it – per then Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  That in itself is disturbing as that is the reason that we pay these people quite handsomely.  But if they had read the bill I sincerely wonder if they would have been much more elucidated on its contents than before they began that exercise.  Besides its length, the law is convoluted and the language goes beyond what we have come to expect from Washington speak.  For that reason perhaps, we employed an MIT professor, one Jonathan Gruber to advise those who wrote the law on how to craft it.  The Federal government and various state governments apparently paid Professor Gruber the sum of nearly $6 Million over several years for his insight.

Over the last ten days a series of videos have surfaced in which said professor has been recorded delivering a number of talks to various groups, mostly within the hallowed halls of academia, and explained that in order to secure the law’s passage, basically its contents had to be both disguised and lied about because it would never have passed if the public new what it actually contained.  In the course of his explanation he pointed out that, “The American public is stupid.”

While this academic apologized for the statement from the first of these videos which was released as an unfortunate malapropism, on several other occasions he made essentially the same comment.  This is not a faux pas but a reflection of the professor’s world view – and more generally – an example of the world view of most on the liberal left.  People are simply too stupid to do what is in their best interest – so it is up to enlightened do-gooders to enforce what is good for them on them.

These comments brought me back to the time I was able to attend “The Howdy Doody Show.”  It was much earlier than my experience with the magic mail order system.  I think I was about eight – and like all the ther kids who attended, I sat in “The Peanut Gallery.”  Like all the other “peanut attendees” I was wowed by Buffalo Bob, Princess Summerfallwinterspring and Mr. Bluster.  It was a half hour of pure fantasy and delight.  But I graduated from The Peanut Gallery.

I wonder if Professor Gruber ever had that same experience.

“Goober – a peanut.”  {Colloquially – A person of limited intelligence}.

“Gruber – a pompous, cynical ass paid nearly $6 Million by various government agencies to deceive the American goober to buy into Obamacare.”


A friend sent this to me and I must admit that I roared out loud when I read it.  Then I kicked myself for not thinking it up myself.  Enjoy!


This is really a good option!

Medicare – Part ‘G’— Nursing Home Plan

You are a sick senior citizen and the government says there is no nursing home care available for you.

So what do you do? —–

Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older, a gun (part G) and 4 bullets. You are allowed to shoot four Politicians. This means, of course, that you’ll be sent to prison where you’ll receive three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating & air conditioning, cable TV, library and all the health care you need.

Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That’s great. Need a hearing aid, a new hip, knees, kidney, lungs, sex change or heart? They’re all covered.

As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you at least as often as they do now!

And who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you they can’t afford for you to go into a home. (And you can get rid of four useless politicians while you’re at it!) And because you’re a prisoner, you don’t have to pay any more income taxes.

Is this a great country or what?

Now that we have solved your senior financial planning, enjoy your week!




At the IRS there’s a new catch phrase going around.  It is, “That’s my story – and it’s subject to change or revision at a moment’s notice.”

Setting aside whether it disturbs you that the IRS may have targeted a particular group with a particular political viewpoint, which it should irrespective of your own political perspective, all Americans should be troubled that any organization that has the power to seize your bank accounts, your home and your life savings simply hasn’t the ability to maintain its own records which it is required to do by Federal law – but expects all taxpayers to maintain documentation of the statements they make on their tax returns for seven year

Let’s recap the Congressional investigation into whether the IRS targeted conservative groups, denying or holding up a determination on whether they were entitled to tax exempt status for periods of up to two years.

First, when this news broke we were told that this was a “boneheaded decision” (that comment courtesy of President Obama) which originated from and was restricted to the Cincinnati, OH IRS office.

Second, we found that the order to pay “special attention” to conservative groups actually began in Washington, at IRS headquarters and one mid-upper level IRS bureaucrat, Lois Lerner was at the center of this.

Third, Lois Lerner is subpoenaed to testify and pleads her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, not a normal procedure taken by someone who has nothing to hide.

Fourth, Chairman Issa’s committee requests copies of Lois Lerner’s emails from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen who replies that it might take one to two years to get this information together.  That is testimony that he delivers before the committee under oath.

Fifth, Koskinen returns to testify to the committee and testifies that Lois Lerner’s hard drive “crashed” and that many of the requested emails were irretrievably “lost.”  Co-incidentally, a number of other IRS employees’ hard drives similarly “crashed” at the same time – people with whom Ms. Lerner would regularly have communicated.

Sixth, the Director of the National Archives testifies before the committee that under Federal law, the IRS was supposed to have furnished his office with all written communications and failure to do so was a violation of Federal law.

Seventh, Koskinen testifies that Lois Lerner’s hard drive was “destroyed” and there would be no way for him to provide the subpoenaed emails.

Eighth, Koskinen testifies that “backup tapes” which might hold the emails exist and that the hard drive which was “destroyed” actually still exists and merely was “scratched” rather than being destroyed.  It is possible that there might be data on it which could be recovered.

That brings us up to date – for the moment.  Apparently, the IRS’ story is subject to change without notice.

With all the different stories that IRS has told thus far, it is not surprising that nearly three out of four Americans believe that Congress should continue its investigation of this agency.  Perhaps the remaining twenty-five percent of us think this is either a waste of time or money and the IRS plays no part in their lives – so why bother?  Well, they’re not only uninformed but they’re wrong.

As you may know, Obamacare affects everyone in the country and many of its provisions fall under the purview of the IRS.  Yes, they’re the folks who are supposed to determine that you might be entitled to a “subsidy” for your insurance premium and they’re the people who are supposed to penalize you if you don’t comply with the law by buying health insurance.  Given their level of either incompetency or downright dishonesty in discussing the Lerner emails, that doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about them – not that I had one before now.

Several years ago before I began taking Gracie to the dog park I used to walk her in my neighborhood.  Occasionally I would run in to one man on the next block whom I would greet with a friendly, “Hello, how are you today?” never to receive a response from him.  This happened many times and I wondered if there were something that I had inadvertently done to offend him or perhaps he just didn’t like dogs.  So I mentioned this to a neighbor who lived across the street from this man and his family.  She told me, “Don’t take it personally.  He isn’t very friendly.  And he works for the IRS.”

I hadn’t thought about this man for several years – until the “phony IRS scandal” emerged.  I can’t conclude that the agency engaged in any wrongdoing – but there is that smell to that what with all their changing stories and obfuscation.  It’s a little like living next door to a Limburger cheese factory.  You don’t have to go inside to know that it’s there.

So it occurred to me, what if this man’s immediate next door neighbor and he had a minor disagreement which they couldn’t resolve amicably?  And what if he were a petty person who decided to take things in his own hands?  Well, he knows his neighbor’s name and address and it should prove no difficulty to pull up his social security number and, if his position allowed him, what if he decided to “retaliate” by having his neighbor’s returns audited?  Sounds unlikely, right?  Except that’s precisely what has happened to several individuals involved in Tea Party groups who applied for exemption with the IRS.

The best resolution to this question would be instituting a simple tax code that everyone could understand and with which compliance would be easy – thus eliminating a need for the IRS, or at the least a great reduction in both its size and the scope of its authority.  That’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

The second best option is to find out what really happened at the IRS and, if there is illegality and political profiling, make sure that those who were involved get incarcerated and take steps to make certain  that the agency gets the oversight so that they don’t pursue the same policies in the future.  I have only a moderate hope that happens.

The third best option, and probably the most likely one, is that the agency is truly so internally messed up that they are more than likely to leave us alone through sheer incompetence.  Based on the billions of dollars of bogus refunds IRS pays out, this seems to be the most likely case.

One can only wonder if anyone at the IRS including their commissioner has either a handle on the situation or, if he does, plans to reform the agency.  There doesn’t seem to be much evidence to point to that conclusion.  As for the rest of us, we can amuse ourselves with the classic Abbott and Costello routine and ask ourselves, when it comes to the IRS, “Who’s on first?”



As my nominee for the “Poster Child” for the “War on Women” I would offer the former HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius as a candidate.  True, I’ve not been a great fan of Ms. Sebelius but in the interest of fairness, it seems appropriate to look at her track record to put her tenure at HHS in perspective.

In 1986 Ms. Sebelius won her first of four terms to the Kansas House of Representatives before running for Kansas Insurance Commissioner to which she was elected and held for an eight year period.  To her credit in her campaign for Commissioner she declined to accept campaign contributions from any insurance companies.

In 2003 she ran for Governor of Kansas, a position she won and to which she was subsequently re-elected.  Then she was tapped by the Obama administration to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services, a position which she held until she resigned last week.

Whether or not we agree with Ms. Sebelius’ philosophy it would be difficult to say that she is not a woman of principle.  Although a Roman Catholic, she has consistently held an unwavering pro-abortion stance and has been informed by the Apostolic Signatura, the Holy See’s highest court, that “she should not approach the altar for Holy Communion” because of her support of abortion.  She also came under fire by conservative groups for accepting donations from George Tiller, the director of one of only three late term abortion clinics in the country.  Tiller was subsequently assassinated.

By general standards it seems that Sebelius conducted herself in a manner that was consistent with the law and ethics.  However, an inquiry was made into her possible violation of the Hatch Act when, as HHS Secretary she made a political remark during an official government event – an action that was prohibited under the act.  Sebelius found a way around that by reclassifying the meeting from governmental to political and reimbursed the government for the expense it had incurred for her to attend the meeting.

As I said at the beginning, I am not a big fan of the now former Secretary.  That is a statement that relates to her policies and not to her as an individual.  Frankly, of the many people whom we employ in Washington, I would have to give her one of the better grades for ethics – perhaps a B+/A-.  I believe that it is not only possible but essential  to separate the individual as a person from her beliefs if we are ever to enter into substantive debate over policy.  But with certainty, if we continually engage in a battle over person rather than policy we will prove ourselves to be little more mature than seven year olds engaged in a grand battle of name calling.

To be sure the Obamacare rollout was a disaster.  Ms. Sebelius was at the helm when that was implemented.  But in the crony environment in which she found herself, I sincerely doubt that the decision to hire the prime contractor, CGI Federal was her choice.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, a school buddy of First Lady Michelle Obama’s happened to be an executive with the firm – which was awarded the contract on a no bid basis.

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke last week about the “shameful way in which he and the president have been treated.”  Although there were allegations that he was alluding to the cause of this as “racism,” he clarified that by categorically stating that was not his intent.  But can we make the same claim that Sebelius’ resignation was not a result of sexism?  Although her proposed successor is also female, perhaps that is for no reason other than to dispel that allegation.

There is no question that Ms. Sebelius was scorned by the president when he gave his speech proclaiming victory at the announcement of the number of Obamacare signups – consigning then Secretary Sebelius to a seat in the front row, rather than a place on the dais.  That is unfortunate considering her stalwart defense of both the law and her department’s implementation of it – and, collaterally her boss, Obama.

It is not unusual for the left to place “ideals” above individuals.  And if there are some who have to be thrown under the bus in order to achieve the “Nirvana” to which they believe they have found the key, so be it.  Ms. Sebelius seems to exhibit some of the marks that are consistent with tire treads from a vehicle that is being driven by President Obama.

The war on women?  There probably are some who are victims.  And to find out who is responsible, we have no further to look than the Oval Office.


The Supreme Court heard arguments recently with regard to a privately owned company by the name of Hobby Lobby which had requested that they be exempted from certain provisions of Obamacare because of the owners’ religious beliefs.  Specifically, they wanted to be exempted from the requirement that they carry insurance which would pay for abortifacients for their covered employees.

I read the arguments made to the Supremes and their questions to attorneys representing both Hobby Lobby and the government.  Despite what has been referred to by liberal activists as another in the continuing “assault on women’s health,” the facts are rather clear.  Here they are.

There are twenty different prophylactics and abortifacients which the government mandates be available under Obamacare.  The company has no objection to providing coverage for sixteen of these.  Those include birth control pills and prophylactics.  Their objection relates specifically to the four which might terminate a pregnancy if one occurred – otherwise known as abortifacients.  We might be familiar with at least one of those, known as “the morning after pill.”

In light of the court case, an article appeared in the “Huffington Post” on April 1, 2014, written by liberal writer and commentator, Rick Ungar.  Of those on the left I have to say that I consider Mr. Ungar to be one of the most reasonable and rational who interpret and spin our news.  It was, therefore, with some dismay that I read his article which was entitled, “Hobby Lobby Invested In Numerous Abortion And Contraception Products While Claiming Religious Objection.”  The source of Mr. Ungar’s information was “Mother Jones.”  I have attached the link to the full article below.

If you were to read only the title of this piece, you might be led to believe that Hobby Lobby actively invests in pharmaceutical companies which manufacture abortifacients because they are trying to maximize their personal profits.  As you go into the article, what the company is actually doing is providing a variety of mutual funds in their corporately sponsored 401(k) from which their employees may select.

There are currently approximately 4,600 equity mutual funds which are offered to investors.  Any retirement plan administrator – an outside entity that has no connection to Hobby Lobby or any other company that offers this retirement benefit – determines which funds it will include in the plans that it administers.  But of the funds which focus on growth of principal, over 86% have some investment in pharmaceutical companies.  And of the growth funds that Morningstar rates with their highest five star evaluation, investment in pharmaceutical companies can be found in 99.3% of their portfolios.

There is an adjunct to Mr. Ungar’s accusations about morality in investing which he might not have considered.  The number of growth funds that invest in energy companies such as Exxon Mobil and BP approximate the percentage of funds that invest in pharmaceuticals.  If he takes his argument to its logical conclusion, there are a lot of his associates who support green energy who would need to opt out of their own retirement accounts to maintain their own purity of principle.

There is one realistic way that Hobby Lobby could avoid this possible conflict of conscience.  It could abolish offering a retirement plan for its 18,000 employees.  Would that be a workable alternative for Mr. Ungar, who does acknowledge that the company pays “above the minimum wage” – actually more than twice the minimum wage that is currently in effect.  But we should always remember that the left seldom lets facts stand in the way of ideology.

As a result of the Supreme Court hearing I thought that I would show some support for the company by patronizing them.  I had never before been in one of their stores.  As it happened, a friend had invited several of us to dinner and I wanted to buy a thank you present for him for his kindness.  He happens to be an aficionado of jig saw puzzles and I was able to find one that I thought he would enjoy on Hobby Lobby’s website.

I called their closest location to see if they had one of these in stock.  A very pleasant young woman cheerfully answered my call and directed me to the correct department where another cheerful young woman asked me to hold on while she checked to see if the puzzle were available.  After a very brief wait she returned to say that they did have several and she would be happy to reserve one for me.  I thanked her and said that I would be by later that afternoon to pick it up.

I had several errands to run that day which would culminate in taking Gracie for her afternoon visit to the dog park.  I wasn’t sure what Hobby Lobby’s policy was regarding allowing dogs within their store, so I called back and asked if I might take Gracie in with me while I picked up the puzzle I had reserved.  The young lady said that they would be happy to see both of us.  Naturally, this disposed me favorably to the company.

When we arrived, a freshly scrubbed, courteous young man asked if he could help me.  I told him that I had reserved a puzzle.  He immediately found it and offered to ring my purchase up at a register which was closed.  While I waited for my total, I asked him if he liked working at the store.  His comment was, “I can’t imagine a better company to work for or nicer people to work with.”

I wonder if Mr. Ungar or other Hobby Lobby critics have ever visited one of their stores.  My guess is, probably not.  After all, they wouldn’t want the facts to get in the way of their opinions.





Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) must be credited with some long term vision.  It may surprise my regular readers to hear me say that as I am not normally very complimentary to the man from Searchlight, NV who is one of the primary obfuscators in the upper chamber.  Heck – in any chamber.

Leader Reid, together with his House counterpart, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi were instrumental in crafting the behind closed door deal that gave the nation that wonderful law, affectionately known as Obamacare.  Perhaps we forget that the Leader’s soft spoken demeanor belies his high school background as a boxer.  In fact, he got elected Lieutenant Governor of the Silver State on the same ticket as his former boxing coach and mentor.

Giving credit where credit is due, the passage of Obamacare was a master stroke of political genius and persuasion.  There were no dissenting votes for the law from the Democrat side of the aisle – either in the House or the Senate.  And while the fact that the members who were kept in line by the respective Whips in those two bodies might not have bothered to read it, they nevertheless voted for it.

Unfortunately, the law apparently had a few problems woven into its fabric.  Please do not take this  as a partisan disparagement of the law.  The president apparently feels the same way as he has unilaterally changed various of its provisions on thirty-five separate occasions (at least as of a few days ago).  That most recent change (billed by the HHS Secretary as an “accommodation”) was to extend the final, final (we really mean final) deadline for enrollment in the law from March 31st – to April 15th (or thereabouts).

This comes less than a week after three separate government officials including the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said that March 31st date was final and absolute.  One spokeswoman for HHS even stated that “her department had no statutory authority to alter that date.”  But such things as following the law as written has never stood in the way of this administration so we shouldn’t take this latest “accommodation” to come as a surprise.

So who are we “accommodating” with this most recent extension?  Well, in the words of Leader Reid, “There are people who (unlike his grandchildren) aren’t very internet savvy and they need some extra time to be able to complete the application process.”  I wonder if IRS would accept that as an excuse for people who either filed their tax returns late or just gave up because they couldn’t understand how to complete them.  In other words, we, the American people are just not that bright.

But to return to the Leader’s long-term vision.

Obamacare (in whatever form one might find it today – but, wait – tomorrow’s version might well be different) – is an albatross hanging on the necks of those who blindly voted for it – to wit, those Democrats who are up for election this November.  As it happens, there are far more vulnerable Democrat senators (all of whom voted to pass this law) than there are Republicans whose seats are up for grabs.  And the current betting it that the Republicans (should they manage to avoid their well-orchestrated strategy of shooting themselves in the foot) might very well take over the Senate.  That would, of course, consign Leader Reid to the back bench as simply another minority senator hack.

So I figure, though he would never admit it publicly, that Sen. Reid might see the handwriting on the wall.  And to that end, he is going on record with as many absurd, foolish and downright insulting statements as he can while he still has the power of the mike and thinks there are people who will listen to him.

All of this is in preparation for his autobiography which, (I have this from an exclusive source which I will not reveal – a là the Senator’s own habit of making statements) will be entitled “The Book of Dumb.”  It should be a gut buster of hilarity.

But the senator’s most recent implication that the American people might not be all that bright and therefore we need to give them extra time to navigate around the Obamacare website might have a grain of truth to it.  After all – we elected him.


Perhaps it’s my background in music but there is nothing that gets me more interested in a program, product or service than a theme song.

When I grew up there was that catchy “It’s Howdy Doody Time” song that let millions of us tykes know that Buffalo Bob, Princess Summerfallwinterspring and Mr. Bluster were about to show up on our little screens with our hero, Howdy Doody.

A few years later that iconic genius, Walt Disney began his wonderfully entertaining weekly show with “When You Wish Upon a Star” which he took from his earlier film, “Pinocchio.”  Those of us who had seen the movie couldn’t forget how that little wooden puppet hoped to become a real boy and how we hoped his wish would be fulfilled.

As to products, what theme song/jingle could have been more catchy than the one that pushed that all-American product, the hot dog by one of its premiere marketeers, The Oscar Mayer Corporation, now part of Kraft Foods.  For some reason their jingle encouraged a lot of budding singers to walk around all day “Wishing that they were Oscar Mayer wieners,” singing the catchy tune that seemed to dominate our television sets no matter the channel we had selected.

As I viewed the hearing yesterday and today by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as she updated the Congress on what was happening with regard to Obamacare enrollments, a thought occurred to me.  (Sometimes that happens).  The administration has done almost everything in its power short of offering enrollees a ten thousand dollar bonus for signing up to get this lead turkey off the ground.

With all the spin that’s going on I’m beginning to feel like the Chanukah dradle that some of my Jewish classmates used to play with.  My head is spinning from all the buzz and all the noise.  But the one thing that I’m not hearing is an “Obamacare Theme Song.”  So I’ve come up with one, courtesy of Fleetwood Mac that I think is appropriate.

I sure hope that they like my suggestion.


Let me begin with a premise.  If a challenge exists, finding the most complex solution to it is probably not an effective response.  As evidence of this theory, let me offer the ACA legislation, more affectionately known (but no longer by Democrats) as Obamacare.

Much has been made of the fact that Obamacare is over 2400 pages long.  Now all of us recognize that’s a lot of trees that died for this legislation.  Put another way, the original act contains over 400,000 words.  That’s nearly the equivalent of the novel “War and Peace” in the original Russian.  Of course, Tolstoy had the cleverness to incorporate a plot in his epic work – something that Obamacare clearly lacks.

But let’s continue our analysis of this law.  You may remember the physics concept that, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  Apparently that principle does not apply to legislation.

With a law as pithy as Obamacare someone has to decipher what it means and explain it to the legislators who passed it without bothering to read its contents.  Hence those in charge of administering it and writing regulations for it have, thus far, used up nearly 12 million of our perfect good English words that would have preferred to be out golfing with the president instead.  That is, by the way, twice the number of words in the Internal Revenue Code.  No wonder the IRS isn’t answering taxpayers’ question on the proper tax filing procedures.  Apparently, one of the BFOQ’s of working at IRS is not having a Certificate of Completion for the Evelyn Wood speed reading program.

Without a doubt the subject of Obamacare goes far beyond law and deeply into the innards of partisan politics.  Democrats accuse anyone who opposes it of being heartless, money grubbing and racist.  There is a bit of wavering on this subject by the Democrat senators who are up for re-election who voted for it and find that the results, thus far, have not been either what they or the president promised their constituents.  Republicans, smelling blood in the streets, have naturally stooped to conquer, citing instances of the disaster the law has brought on the populace.  They have a great deal of material from which to choose.  Meanwhile, the people whom the law was theoretically intended to help – the uninsured – have adopted a rather ho hum view of the law with less than one percent of them bothering to enroll through the end of January.  Perhaps their lack of enthusiasm and participation is that either they do not want to have health insurance or simply cannot afford it.

Without debating the merits or lack of them of the law and setting aside partisan politics, this provides an excellent example of the libertarian concept, “That government is best which governs least.”  Even some proponents of the law have admitted that it’s unveiling has been far worse than they anticipated.  One could include the president in that group since he has amended it twenty-eight times by the use of his mighty pen.  But this does raise a serious question – all politics aside.

I realize there are those who truly believe that government is the answer to all our problems – and others who believe that it is the root cause of most of them.  I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle of those two views, probably leaning more to the latter.  But whatever your political stripe or your view on the role of government, the rollout of Obamacare should give any rational person reason to pause.

By now we all know that the president repeatedly made promises about Obamacare which were patently untrue.  Whether he was ignorant of the truth or purposefully lied in order to sell the program is only moderately relevant.  If he were ignorant – he failed in his responsibility as chief executive and, if he were working in the private sector would have been fired.  If he were working in the private sector and lied to his shareholders (the American people in this case), he would have been removed from office.

Now health insurance is something which we are all mandated to own by the law and which any rational person hopes never to need to use.  Obviously, some of those who have insurance will find a reason to utilize it and others not.  So this issue only affects all of us on a theoretical basis.  But what if there were a crisis that affected everyone – a failure in the nationwide power grid, for example.  Given the track record of this administration, is there anyone who would feel confident that this government would be able to handle that crisis effectively?

Fortunately, I have a simple solution for the problems that Obamacare has encountered or created.

The president made it clear that, “He has a pen and a phone.”  (I guess that’s the original Obama phone).  So all he has to do is sign an executive order outlawing disease, accidents and genetic defects.  We will no longer have to fret about the uninsured since everyone will be healthy and the money we are spending repairing the website and expanding the bureaucracy to administer the law could be used to feed the hungry or clothe the poor.

You know, this simplicity thing, combined with the power of the pen has got a lot to commend it.  I think I’ll turn my attention next to Putin, Kim jung-un, and President Assad.  The sky’s the limit.  Well, at least if we don’t run out of ink.


For those of you who are Orthodox followers of the Old Calendar (Julian), today is Christmas.  So MERRY CHRISTMAS.  Would that the spirit of Gregorian Christmas had been extended yet another thirteen days in Washington.  But then there’s hope and then there’s reality.  Politics, with the return of Obama from his Hawaiian vacation, have returned apace.

Today El Presidente gave an interesting speech kicking off what we have in store for 2014.  He began his crusade to eliminate “income inequality” and make us all happier and poorer.  First at the top of the list was the “Emergency” extension of unemployment benefits which have been in this “Emergency” status for five years now.  Incidentally, that is the exact period of time that we have been under the guidance of the Obama administration.  Coincidence?  I think not.

It is fairly difficult for all but the mentally dyslexic to understand much of anything that comes out of this administration.  On the one hand we hear how Obama has “reduced unemployment, cut the deficit in half and helped the housing market.”  So if all that is true, it is unclear why there is a need to extend unemployment benefits further.  Realistically, all those who are unemployed should be able to find positions in this brave new economy.

But logic and reason have never been long suits for the Obama administration which claims a wonderful victory that 2.1 Million have enrolled in Obamacare which is 50% less than they projected and omitted the fact that 5.6 Million Americans and their families had policies that were cancelled leaving fewer of us with health insurance than before the enrollment began on 10/01/13.

Returning to the issue of extending unemployment benefits further for those who have lost their jobs “through no fault of their own,” to quote the President – well if they lost their jobs through no fault of their own – whose fault is it that they are now unemployed?  Could we lay the blame at the feet of the President who spent the first two years of his time in office getting Obamacare passed instead of addressing the serious problems in the economy?  Surely his economic stimulus (spending billions of taxpayer dollars) should have done the trick.

But, as the President correctly pointed out in his speech, this is not merely a matter of statistics.  There are real people involved who have probably become dependent on this new entitlement program after so long out of work – despite their diligent efforts at finding gainful employment.  And as the administration has done nothing to get the economy going again – in fact, one could argue that all the new regulations and Obamacare itself have done just the opposite – we should have the compassion to extend these benefits for a short three additional months.

I accept the fact that most of those who are unemployed would much prefer working than sitting home waiting for the next check to arrive from the unemployment office – essentially being the recipients of public charity.  So what if we could merge both their desire to work and receive something in return for the tax dollars we are willing to use to help them out?  Well, we can – and my liberal friends with their environmental agenda will, I think, embrace my suggestion.

Given the Arctic freeze that is sweeping much of the nation I don’t want to throw any stones at Al Gore or his prediction that the polar ice caps were supposed to have melted by the end of last year.  But I will accept the idea that humans do have an impact on the planet, whether or not it results in the now favored phrase “climate change” rather than global warning.  But setting aside that conversation, there is no doubt that we people do have a negative impact on our environment and I know this because I have seen its manifestation countless times.  It’s something with which we are all familiar – litter.

Consider the fact that the government now has fifty years of the War on Poverty under its belt since LBJ first got that passed.  And then we had Lady Bird’s “Beautify America” program.  And don’t forget VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).

So what if we asked those who are recipients of further emergency unemployment benefits to go forth and attack the litter which soils the sidewalks and the parks in our cities?  In that way they would have the pride of working until their better job comes along, the taxpayers would receive a return on the money that we are spending and we would beautify our country?  That’s a win/win/win solution to an unfortunate problem.

Heck, if we aren’t careful, we could turn America into a country that looked as spotless as Singapore.


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