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[Markets] US Military Jams GPS Across East Coast As FBI Seizes Night-Vision Devices US Military Jams GPS Across East Coast As FBI Seizes Night-Vision Devices

Authored by Mike Adams via NaturalNews.com,

In case you didn’t fully realize that something big is about to take place in America, file these two facts in your brain:

#1: The U.S. military, Carrier Strike Group Four (CSG4), is jamming GPS signals from Jan 16th – 24th

...which may overlap the planned deep state false flag event in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is just at the margins of the range of the GPS jamming exercise map released by the military (see below). The epicenter of the so-called “exercise” is off the coast of Georgia. The official FAA announcement claims no jamming will take place on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next week, but we don’t trust the FAA, so your mileage may vary. Remember, too, that 90% of the American population below the age of 30 has never read a paper map and can’t use a compass.

The GPS jamming exercise continues through Jan. 24th and effects South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, Alabama and all of Florida. The AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) has posted details of the warning here.

The FAA has also issued a flight advisory warning aircraft pilots that GPS will fail for “several hours each day” during this military jamming exercise. See:

Map of the Carrier Strike Group Four GPS testing

Here are the areas that will be impacted:

Note that this is the U.S. military testing GPS jamming capabilities in anticipation of an event that would require such jamming (obviously). Consider the convergence of events now shaping up:

  • The impeachment trial of President Trump by the U.S. Senate, presided over by the treasonous sellout SCOTUS Justice Roberts, who already sold out America to Obama under the wildly unconstitutional “Obamacare” decision years ago.

  • The Jan. 20th “Lobby Day” event in Richmond, Virginia, where deep state operatives are absolutely trying to put together a false flag event to cause violence and blame gun owners.

  • The Mysterious drone flights over Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska, recently followed up by an emergency meeting with the Oklahoma legislature on a military base, where they were briefed about something “horrific” and “life altering.”

  • The FBI’s sudden attempts to confiscate high-end night vision tubes from distributors, indicating an emergency need for night vision capabilities in an agency led by a treasonous traitor (Chris Wray) and that has a long history of planning and carrying out terrorism plots across America, according to the New York Times and the Kansas City Star.

#2: FBI invokes “imminent domain” to seize high-end night vision tubes

The FBI is now claiming “imminent domain” to essentially seize high-end night vision tubes (that power night vision goggles) from distributors in the United States. This indicates the FBI has an emergency effort under way to acquire large numbers of night vision devices in anticipation of some urgent event which will take place at night (possibly another FBI false flag operation like Oklahoma City or the 1993 attempted World Trade Center bombing which was entirely masterminded by the FBI).

As Dave Hodges is reporting from The Commonsense Show, Bob Griswold from ReadyMadeResources.com relates a shocking event where he had already locked in the purchase of 70 night vision tubes from his distributor, and had those tubes invoiced and committed. Within hours, the FBI claimed imminent domain over the tubes, effectively “seizing” them from Ready Made Resources before they could even be shipped.

We reviewed a letter written to RMR by their distributor, confirming that the government preempted the order to RMR and claimed they had ownership over the gear because they were the government.

An hour ago, I spoke with Griswold on the phone to confirm the situation, and he told me he thought there were, “No more than 200 high-end night vision devices remaining in the entire country.” (This excludes the crappy gen 1 and gen 2 night vision devices, which nobody wants anyway.)

I’m told that inventory units are flying off the shelves and will be gone everywhere in the next 1-2 business days. Yes, there is a run on night vision in America, happening right now.

Here’s the relevant question: What is the FBI planning that would require hundreds of night vision devices?

Answer: Probably another bombing, mass shooting, mass casualty event or some other terrorism flashpoint that the FBI is famous for causing. Just ask the church members of Waco, Texas… or not, since they’re all dead, thanks to the FBI and ATF.

Earlier this week, Alex Jones declared on his broadcast that the deep state was going to “attempt to assassinate Trump next week.” Could this military exercise, and the FBI night vision devices, and the drones scanning the Midwest all be related?

Most likely, yes.

Listen to my urgent false flag warning podcast which covers the possibility of deliberate violence being staged for Monday, Jan. 20th, in Richmond, Virginia:

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/18/2020 - 15:30
Published:1/18/2020 2:36:43 PM
[Issues] Nuns Will Return to Supreme Court to Fight Obamacare Mandate

The Little Sisters of the Poor are once again asking the Supreme Court to defend their religious exemption to Obamacare's contraceptive mandate. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, et al. The nuns welcomed the hearing, which could bring their five-year legal fight to a close. Recent Stories in ...

The post Nuns Will Return to Supreme Court to Fight Obamacare Mandate appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:1/17/2020 9:31:58 PM
[Health Care] How Obamacare Made Things Worse for Patients With Preexisting Conditions

One of the strange features of the national health care conversation is how it has evolved. What is often referred to as Obamacare began as... Read More

The post How Obamacare Made Things Worse for Patients With Preexisting Conditions appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:1/14/2020 4:44:02 PM
[Markets] "The Flying Monkeys Have Taken Over The Asylum" - Impeachment, Soleimani, & The Pull Of The Swamp "The Flying Monkeys Have Taken Over The Asylum" - Impeachment, Soleimani, & The Pull Of The Swamp

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

The day Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would open up impeachment proceedings against President Trump I called it a coup. It was obvious to me then and more obvious to me today that we are headed to a dangerous place (a dangerous place).

Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week and it’s clear that this will not be a walk in the park for the President. Anyone dismissing this because the Republicans hold the Senate simply do not understand why this impeachment exists in the first place.

It is the ultimate form of leverage over a President whose desire to end the wars in the Middle East is anathema to the entrenched powers in the D.C. Swamp.

This is what I said back in September:

The Democrats would not be pushing for this if they didn’t think they have the votes in the House and the Senate to get this done. Ignore the conventional wisdom on this. They were wrong in the UK.[about the courts upholding Johnson proroguing Parliament]

They will be wrong here, unless Trump has something else up his sleeve.

His removing John Bolton and refusal to attack Iran is driving the neoconservatives to apoplexy. They want their holy war against the apostate Shi’ites and they will get it. Mike Pence will be their avatar until such time as he can be removed through a sham election in 2020.

If this wasn’t the case they wouldn’t be risking what’s left of their political future defending a senile old man, Joe Biden, who they don’t actually want to be the candidate anyway.

It’s a coup folks.

Take this one step farther. You don’t start this process if you aren’t going to use what it gives you. Thinking only in terms of the Democrats’ horrific slate of challengers to Trump betrays the myopia of most political analysts.

They see things, wrongly, in terms of partisanship. This isn’t primarily about Democrat v. Republican. This isn’t even just about Clinton v. Trump and a temper tantrum.

And you have to ask yourself the question why would Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell go along with a real trial unless the fix was in?

Because, as Trump rightly points out, he’s got the approval rating nationally and within his own party. He’s a lock for re-election. So, given the clear unconstitutionality of these impeachment articles (which I discussed previously) why is this even still a thing?

Because Trump is going to be taken out.

The events of the past twelve days since Trump murdered IRGC General Qassem Soleimani prove this beyond any doubt. Impeachment was the leverage point to drive open a wedge between Republicans and Trump through Iran.

Pelosi slow-walking the articles of impeachment to the Senate was all part of the pantomime, folks. She gets what she wants: Congress asserting more power and the Democrats shoring up their base by taking out an eyesore in Trump.

She waits just long enough for Trump to do something questionable and for it to be made known publicly.

The neocons in the Senate get what they want — further escalation of pressure on Iran with the hope of destroying them. Moreover, they prove to Trump, Israel, the MIC and the world that they are still fully in charge of U.S. foreign policy.

The Swamp Strikes Back and puts Trump in a no-win situation.

The Wall St. Journal article from this weekend which intimated that Trump made the decision to kill Soleimani was motivated by shoring up his support in the Israeli Occupied Senate is further proof.

“Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said,” the newspaper reported.

It’s not like Trump hasn’t let missiles fly to appease the Neocons in the past. He did it with the bombing of the Al Shairat airbase in Syria back in April of 2017. Remember, that was the night the MSM and Congress declared Trump suitably “Presidential.”

Then he did it again four months later, doubling our presence in Afghanistan in the hopes of getting Obamacare repealed. Oh, by the way, Lindsey Graham reneged on that deal.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper doing the Sunday talk show circuit to throw the President under the bus about his intelligence seals the deal.

Now Pelosi wants to add more charges to the docket and McConnell is going for a trial, when he should just outright dismiss these charges. I told you that this all comes down to McConnell and how he handles the terms of the trial.

He sets the table for this. And if he’s not tilting it in Trump’s favor, Donald is right to be worried.

Trump’s killing Soleimani gives them plenty of cover to do so. His lack of consistency in defending the act will be used against him. That’s why Esper told the world Trump didn’t have proof of an imminent threat.

So, Trump, often his own worst enemy, then defends himself by saying Soleimani just needed killin’.

It’s all being stage-managed by a nearly rogue Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and facilitated through Lindsey Graham. The events that led up to Iran’s missile attack on our bases in Iraq should not be taken at face value.

Killing one U.S. oil contractor does not justify attacks on five PMU bases ringing the Iraqi/Syrian border crossing between Al Qaim and Al Bukamai.

It certainly doesn’t necessitate taking the conflict all the way to the point of Iran firing missiles at our airbases in Iraq.

Don’t think for a second that if Graham feels Trump isn’t sufficiently controlled at this point that he won’t, in the end, wring his hands and vote for his removal from office because the President’s decision-making skills are questionable.

If the Swamp truly wants Trump removed from office then this impeachment trial is their best chance of getting that done. At this point we have a handful of open Republican turncoats. Swelling that number to twenty in the Senate is not that hard.

Remember, twenty is a helluva lot smaller than the millions of voters that would have to turn against Trump to elect Hillary Clinton waiting in the wings to emerge from a brokered Democratic convention this summer.

That’s what’s fundamentally wrong with representative forms of government.

And even then, Pence v. Clinton would be a close affair because of the deep divisions within the electorate and Hillary’s fundamental evil. Either way, the Swamp wins.

Nothing happens in D.C. that doesn’t become a weapon in these people’s hands.

To think Pelosi wouldn’t use this to its fullest is terminally naive. To think Trump is savvy enough to see the game board in all its complexity having not one truly loyal staff (or family) member is also naive.

To think McConnell is anything more than an order-taker from those above him is the height of naivete.

I give Trump credit for navigating things to this point and keeping the violence to a minimum, but if he’s going to go down, he better be prepared to go scorched earth in the process.

It’s his only chance at survival and fulfilling even one of his many campaign promises.

Either way, the U.S. electorate will not stand for removing Trump over this. And they shouldn’t. I may be angry with Trump for his recent actions, but this impeachment is the height of lunacy. And when something this ludicrous goes this far, it means the fix is in.

The Flying Monkeys have taken over the asylum. The existence of this trial is itself an inflection point in history.

The rest is just a chase scene.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Tue, 01/14/2020 - 14:10
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Published:1/14/2020 1:12:25 PM
[In the Courts] Supreme Court Orders Fast Response In Obamacare Challenge

By Kevin Daley -

US Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ordered the Trump administration and a coalition of red states to respond by Friday to a petition asking the justices to immediately take up a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Setting the case on an expedited timeline ensures the justices can hear the case during ...

Supreme Court Orders Fast Response In Obamacare Challenge is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:1/8/2020 3:36:31 PM
[Markets] "Revolutionary Changes In Public Opinion" - Gallup's Decade in Review: 2010-2019 "Revolutionary Changes In Public Opinion" - Gallup's Decade in Review: 2010-2019

Authored by Justin McCarthy, a journalist and analyst at Gallup,

A review of Gallup analyses over the past decade reveals that the years from 2010 to 2019 bore witness to key revolutionary changes in public opinion, along with some persistent trends and concerns, as well as striking moments and lasting effects.

Here are the changes, issues and moments in public opinion that Gallup editors think will long be associated with the 2010s:

Revolutionary Changes

Same-Sex Marriage: When the decade began, only a handful of states had legalized gay marriage and most Americans opposed it. But in 2011, Gallup recorded majority support for same-sex marriage for the first time. Americans continued to warm to gay marriage as the decade progressed, with support reaching the 60% mark just before the Supreme Court's 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision made gay marriage legal nationwide.

In the final years of the decade, support has ranged between 61% and 67%. The wholesale change in public attitudes about gay marriage over such a short time span represents one of Gallup's most compelling public opinion trends.

Marijuana: Much like the issue of same-sex marriage, Americans' views on legalizing marijuana have vastly changed, with the sharpest shift in support for legalization occurring in the past 10 years.

In 2010, when no states had yet legalized recreational marijuana, 46% of U.S. adults supported legalizing it, but that grew to about two-thirds in four consecutive readings by decade's end. Today, 11 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational use of marijuana, while many other states have decriminalized it or passed laws allowing for medical marijuana use.

The U.S. Economy: That two in three Americans say it is a good time to find a quality job in the U.S. at the conclusion of 2019 shows how far U.S. consumers have come from the economic despair Gallup found as the decade began.

In January 2010, just 9% of Americans said it was a good time to find a quality job. And for the better part of the decade, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index was in negative territory as Americans continued to reel from the effects of the global economic crisis and the U.S. recession. President Donald Trump's inauguration in 2017 marked an important turning point as Americans again became net-positive about the economy and jobs in particular. But Gallup has consistently found that most Americans view the country's current and future economic health through a political lens.

Political Polarization: Republicans and Democrats have become more polarized in their views on issues and evaluations of politicians. This polarizing trend is not unique to the end of the decade, but it's one that has accelerated over the past 10 years.

A 2017 Gallup analysis found that Barack Obama's presidential approval ratings had been the most politically polarized ratings for any president in Gallup's history -- and President Donald Trump's are on pace to be even more polarized. But Republicans and Democrats diverge even on questions that are seemingly apolitical, including how the U.S. economy is doing and how they rate their personal healthcare situation, for example. This will have enormous consequences not just for the coming presidential election, but for how U.S. politics navigate beyond it.

Religion: Religious faith is prominent in the U.S., but much less so than in previous decades. Church membership and attendance -- as well as frequency of attendance -- are all down to record lows. Americans have become less likely to believe in God. Meanwhile, more than one in five Americans (21%) now describe themselves as having no religion, a sizable jump from 14% in 2010 and 8% in 1999.

In addition to the decline in Americans identifying with any religion, some of the largest changes within religious groups have occurred among U.S. Catholics, of whom weekly church attendance has nearly halved since the beginning of the millennium, and whose confidence in organized religion and the clergy have fallen.

Persistent Issues and Concerns

Gun Violence: Many of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred during the past decade, and Americans have often reacted to these events with alarm. In 2012, U.S. parents worries' about their children's safety rose after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which marked one of the least happy days in 2012, according to Americans' self-reports of their emotions. In March 2018, less than a month after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Americans' mentions of guns as the nation's top problem spiked to a record high. But much like the cyclical political conversations on gun control, these fears typically decline until the next event drives them back up again.

How Americans interpret deadly shootings is also divisive, as Republicans and Democrats attribute gun violence to different root problems. Majorities of Americans have generally reported wanting stricter gun control over time, and violent events have often pushed this desire to relative heights.

Terrorism: Americans' worries about terrorism in the 2010s were somewhat of a holdover from the prior decade, which was largely defined and shaped by the attacks that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. Much like gun violence, Americans' worries about terrorism ebb and flow in reaction to terrorism in the U.S. and abroad. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombings prompted a double-digit increase in the percentage of Americans who believed another terrorist attack was coming. After the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, Americans' concerns about the possibility of future terrorist attacks rose the most among a list of 15 problems facing the U.S.

Fears about terrorism affect Americans' behavior, as was evident in 2017, when a record-high percentage of U.S. adults reported they were less likely to attend large events because of terrorist attacks. As recently as October 2019, nearly half of Americans said they worried that they or a family member could be a victim of terrorism.

Race Relations: Whites and blacks alike are less positive in their assessments of race relations in the U.S. than they were in the previous decade. The final years of the 2010s revealed heightened worries about race relations compared with previous measures Gallup has taken since 2001. The election of Obama, the first black U.S. president, may have signaled a major achievement in race relations, but Americans' views of race relations became less harmonious during Obama's time in office -- and have further soured during Trump's presidency.

Striking Moments

The 2016 Election: In 2016, for only the fourth time in U.S. history, the president elected by the Electoral College did not win the popular vote. Still, the event was singular in that the two major-party candidates had the worst favorable ratings Gallup has ever recorded leading up to an election, and Americans rated the tone of the election more negatively than elections in the past.

Despite then-candidate Trump's low ratings on personality and leadership qualities, the constant news about his opponent Hillary Clinton's email server scandal hurt her. Trump's attacks on the media came at a time when confidence in the media had dipped to new lows -- especially among members of his own party.

Osama bin Laden: Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden had been "Public Enemy No. 1" even before the attacks on 9/11. His eluding capture had dogged then-President George W. Bush, who was in the first year of his presidency when the U.S. experienced the deadliest terrorist attack in its history.

Nearly a decade after 9/11, bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by a U.S. special operations team. The raid was well received in the U.S., with 93% approving of the military action and about eight in 10 saying it was extremely or very important to the U.S. that bin Laden was killed (though the operation was not well-received in Pakistan, where it occurred). Americans gave most credit to the U.S. military and the CIA. Obama received a six-percentage-point bump in his approval ratings -- a rare "rally event" for him.

Government Shutdowns: The federal government shut down three times over the decade. While one was relatively brief (Jan. 20-22, 2018), the other two lasted weeks -- with the most recent shutdown that ended in January 2019 being the longest in U.S. history. Gallup has found that these events affected Americans' views of the country in various ways.

In 2013, Congress approval dropped to one of its lowest levels in history, while satisfaction with government reached a new low. Meanwhile, Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy -- which had been slowly rebuilding after the global economic crisis -- plummeted as the shutdown wore on.

The Republican Party's image took a hit as a result of GOP members of Congress' role in the shutdown. Obama's approval ratings mostly held steady during the shutdown of 2013, as did Trump's ratings during the shutdown earlier this year. During the most recent shutdown, mentions of the government and poor leadership as the top U.S. problem spiked, while trust in the government to handle domestic and international issues each dropped to record lows.

The Tea Party: The seeds of the Tea Party movement took root in 2009 and early 2010 when fiscal conservatives opposed "excessive" federal spending and government bailouts -- and later, when conservative Republicans were outraged over various proposals from the new Democratic-controlled Congress and White House, particularly the Affordable Care Act.

But the movement bore fruit in 2010, when 87 Republicans were newly elected to Congress, many under the umbrella of the Tea Party movement -- representing one of the GOP's greatest electoral victories in generations. In 2010, Gallup found that more than a quarter of Americans (28%) and about half of Republicans (49%) were supporters of the Tea Party movement, with strong support among whites and conservatives. Support for the movement waned after peaking at 32% following its successes in the 2010 elections. By 2015 -- the last time Gallup posed the question -- support was about half that level (17%).

Occupy Wall Street: Not long after the Tea Party movement's successes in 2010, the Occupy Wall Street movement was born when protesters in New York City's Zuccotti Park remained there for two months in the fall of 2011. This prompted national and international re-creations of the protest and ignited larger conversations about wealth inequality in the U.S., particularly the top 1% of income earners.

Americans were slightly more approving than disapproving of the movement's goals and the way the protests were being conducted, but most were unfamiliar with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Occupy Wall Street likely tapped into frustrations that were present that year, as Americans' satisfaction with opportunities for people to get ahead by working hard had dipped to a new low (55%) in 2011 and a record-low 44% said it was likely that U.S. youth would have better lives than their parents. Many of the movement's messages have resonated with the current presidential campaigns of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, whose platforms are largely centered on income inequality.

Lasting Effects

The Affordable Care Act (ACA): One of the decade's most significant pieces of legislation was passed at its beginning. Signed by Obama in March 2010, the ACA successfully reduced the percentage of uninsured Americans. The bill, which became widely known as "Obamacare," was controversial, with 45% of Americans supporting it and 48% opposing just weeks before its passage.

Since then, public opinion has continued to tilt against the law, averaging 46% approval and 49% disapproval since 2012, based on annual averages. Americans were most negative about the ACA as the ACA exchanges opened in late 2013 and the individual mandate took effect in early 2014. The ACA enjoyed majority approval in only two polls, both conducted in 2017, amid Republican attempts to repeal it. Twin polls in 2019 found the law just as divisive today as it was at the start, with 50% approving of the ACA and 48% disapproving.

Socialism: Nationally, socialism has not gained in popularity over the past decade -- and less than half of Americans would vote for a socialist presidential candidate. But U.S. Democrats have warmed slightly to socialism, and they now view socialism more favorably than they do capitalism. About half of millennials view socialism positively.

Though Americans skew negative in their views of socialism, their views are more nuanced when asked about specific aspects of government responsibility. With more political leaders, namely Democrats, adopting socialist messages, the coming decade will tell whether Americans become more positive in their views of socialism or whether they will remain as negative about it as they were in the 2010s.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/01/2020 - 20:00
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Published:1/1/2020 7:02:54 PM
[Markets] Ron Paul: Should Racists Get Health Care? Ron Paul: Should Racists Get Health Care?

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

Political correctness recently took a dangerous turn in the United Kingdom when the North Bristol National Health Service Trust announced that hospital patients who use offensive, racist, or sexist language will cease receiving medical care as soon as it is safe to end their treatment.

The condition that treatment will not be withdrawn until doing so is safe seems to imply that no one will actually suffer from this policy. However, health-care providers have great discretion to determine when it is “safe” to withhold treatment. So, patients could be left with chronic pain or be denied certain procedures that could improve their health but are not necessary to make them “safe.” Patients accused of racism or sexism could also find themselves at the bottom of the NHS’s infamous “waiting lists,” unable to receive treatment until it truly is a matter of life and death.

Since many people define racism and sexism as “anything I disagree with,” the new policy will no doubt lead to people being denied medical care for statements that most reasonable people would consider unobjectionable.

This is not the first time NHS has withheld treatment because of an individual’s behavior. A couple years ago, another local health committee announced it would withhold routine or nonemergency surgeries from smokers and the obese. Since reducing smoking and obesity benefits both individual patients and the health care system as a whole, this policy may appear defensible. But denying or delaying care violates medical ethics and sets a dangerous precedent. If treatment could be denied to smokers and the obese, then it could also be denied to those who engage in promiscuous sex, drive over the speed limit, don’t get the “proper” number of vaccinations for themselves and their children, or have “dangerous” political views.

Government bureaucrats denying care to individuals for arbitrary reasons is the inevitable result of government interference in the health-care market. Government intervention is supposed to ensure quality and affordable (or free) care for all. But, government intervention artificially lowers the costs of health care to patients while increasing costs to providers. As demand rises and supply falls, government imposes rationing to address the shortages and other problems caused by prior government interference.

Rationing has been part of American health care at least since the passage of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973. Every plan to expand government’s role in health care contains some form of rationing.

Advocates for government intervention in health care will counter complaints about rationing by saying the related health-care decisions are being made to benefit people’s quality of life. But, claiming government officials know how medical treatment can best enhance quality of life is as absurd as claiming that government officials know the correct prices of automobiles.

The only way to reverse the slide into national health care and rationing is for those who understand the economic and moral case for liberty to keep pushing to replace Obamacare and all other government intrusions into health care. Government-controlled health care must be replaced by free-market health care that empowers individuals to determine for themselves what does and does not enhance their quality of life.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/31/2019 - 20:45
Published:12/31/2019 7:51:09 PM
[Markets] Buchanan: Today France, Tomorrow America? Buchanan: Today France, Tomorrow America?

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

As that rail and subway strike continued to paralyze travel in Paris and across France into the third week, President Emmanuel Macron made a Christmas appeal to his dissatisfied countrymen:

“Strike action is justifiable and protected by the constitution, but I think there are moments in a nation’s life when it is good to observe a truce out of respect for families and family life.”

Macron’s appeal has gone largely unheeded.

“The public be damned!” seems to be the attitude of many of the workers who are tying up transit to protest Macron’s plan to reform a pension system that consumes 14% of GDP.

Macron wants to raise to 64 the age of eligibility for full retirement benefits. Not terribly high. And to set an example, he is surrendering his lifetime pension that is to begin when he becomes an ex-president.

Yet, it is worth looking more closely at France because she appears to be at a place where the rest of Europe and America are headed.

In France, the government collects 46% of the GDP in taxes and spends 56% of GDP, the highest figures in the Western world.

And Paris appears to be bumping up against the limits of what democratic voters will tolerate in higher taxes, or reductions in benefits, from the postwar welfare states the West has created.

A year ago, when Macron sought to raise fuel taxes to cut carbon emissions, the “yellow vests” came out in protests that degenerated into rioting, looting, arson, desecration of monuments and attacks on police.

Paris capitulated and canceled the tax.

How do we compare?

The U.S. national debt is now larger than the GDP. Only in 1946, the year after World War II, was U.S. debt a larger share of GDP than today.

In 2019, the U.S. ran a deficit just shy of $1 trillion, and the U.S. government projects trillion-dollar deficits through the decade, which begins next week. And we will be running these deficits not to stimulate an economy in recession, as President Obama did, but to pile them on top of an economy at full employment.

In short, we are beginning to run historic deficits in a time of prosperity. Whatever the economic theory behind this, it bears no resemblance to the limited government-balanced budget philosophy of the party of Ronald Reagan.

The questions the U.S. will inevitably face are the ones France faces: At what point does government consumption of the national wealth become too great a burden for the private sector to bear? At what point must cuts be made in government spending that will be seen by the people, as they are seen in France today, as intolerable?

While a Republican Congress ran surpluses in the 1990s, when defense spending fell following our Cold War victory, Dwight Eisenhower was the last Republican president to run surpluses.

Opposition to new or higher taxes appears to be the one piece of ground today on which Republicans will not yield. But if so, where are the cuts going to come from that will be virtually mandated if U.S. debt is not to grow beyond any sustainable level?

America’s long-term problem:

  • Deficits are projected to run regularly in the coming decade at nearly 5% of GDP while economic growth has fallen back to 2%.

  • With taxes off the table, where, when and how do we cut spending?

  • Or does each new administration kick the can down the road?

The five principal items in the federal budget are these:

1. Social Security, which consumes 25% of that budget. Yet, Social Security outlays will reach the point this year where payroll taxes no longer cover them. The “trust fund” will have to be raided. Translation: The feds will have to borrow money to cover the Social Security deficit.

2. Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and other health programs account for another fourth of the budget. All will need more money to stay solvent.

3. Defense, which used to take 9% of GDP in JFK’s time and 6% in Ronald Reagan’s buildup, is now down to 3.2% of GDP.

4. Yet, while defense’s share of GDP is among the smallest since before World War II, U.S. commitments are as great as they were during the Cold War. We are now defending 28 NATO nations, containing Russia, and maintaining strategic parity. We have commitments in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and the global war on terror. We defend South Korea and Japan from a nuclear-armed North Korea and China.

5. Yet another major item in the budget is interest on the debt.

And as that U.S. debt surges with all the new deficits this decade, and interest rates inevitably begin to rise, interest on the debt will rise both in real terms and as a share of the budget.

Again, is France the future of the West?

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/24/2019 - 07:45
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Published:12/24/2019 6:59:34 AM
[In the Courts] Blue States Will Turn To Supreme Court After Appeals Court Strikes Down Obamacare Mandate

By Kevin Daley -

Obamacare has failed the American people

California and a coalition of blue states defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) told a federal judge Friday that they will appeal a lower court order striking down the individual mandate to the Supreme Court. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday a trial ...

Blue States Will Turn To Supreme Court After Appeals Court Strikes Down Obamacare Mandate is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/23/2019 12:59:18 PM
[d7dda033-17c0-583d-863e-20085ab07ab5] Justin Haskins: Congress, pass THIS ObamaCare fix now before families suffer While Congress wastes time on impeachment, federal court cases are pushing ObamaCare closer than ever to collapse. Published:12/23/2019 9:54:08 AM
[Markets] As The Fiscal Doomsday Machine Powers On, David Stockman Rages "Impeach The Congress, Too!" As The Fiscal Doomsday Machine Powers On, David Stockman Rages "Impeach The Congress, Too!"

Authored by David Stockman via LewRockwell.com,

If bringing one’s country to fiscal ruin were an impeachable offense, you’d have to impeach the entire city of Washington.

On December 16 the gross Federal debt breached a new level to $23.1 trillion, while the net debt after $401 billion of cash weighed in at $22.71 trillion. The latter monstrous figure is notable because on June 30, 2019 it stood at $21.76 trillion.

So what has happened in the last 167 days is a $948 billion increase in the Uncle Sam’s net debt, which amounts to a gain of $5.7 billionper day – including, as we like to say, weekends, holidays and snow days.

Worse still, not a single dollar of that gain got absorbed in government trust funds. The Treasury float held by the public actually rose by $953 billion.

So why in the world do the knuckleheads on bubblevision not understand where the spiking rates and ructions in the repo market came from?

The law of supply and demand is still operative, and the US Treasury is literally flooding the bond pits with new supply. Even at the bottom of the Great Recession, Uncle Sam did not drain $5.7 billion per day from the bond market.

But nary a soul down in the Imperial City has noticed this borrowing eruption at the tippy-top of the business cycle, which now teeters on borrowed time at a record 127 months of age. Instead, this very day the Congress is busily engaged in what is a fair approximation of abolishing the election process at the heart of American democracy.

We will address today’s hideous impeachment Gong Show below. But here we note that every talking head showing up on the screen today is claiming that the market can keep on bubbling higher because the pending impeachment of the nation’s 45th president is a great big nothingburger.

Au contraire!

It’s real, deeper meaning is that the Washington end of the Acela Corridor is now morphing into a disruptive missile aimed right at the canyons of Wall Street.

Of course, the Donald won’t be “convicted” by the Republican Senate. Indeed, the House impeachment resolution my never even be sent to the Senate if Nancy and her ship of fools conclude there won’t be a real “trial” in the Senate and therefore leave the resolutions sitting on the parliamentarian’s desk as camera ready campaign fodder for 2020.

But, hey, a government which can treat the supposedly solemn and extraordinary process of impeachment as a mere exercise in campaign theatrics is a government that has given the term “dysfunctional” an altogether new definition. It means that the conduct of the actual business of the people’s government has virtually ceased.

To be sure, we would ordinarily consider a government that does absolutely nothing to be praiseworthy. After all, the route to prosperity does not extend through the halls of Congress or the vast departments inside the beltway, but stems from the genius of free enterprise and the exertions and inspiration of workers, employers, savers, investors and inventors. They require neither help nor superintendence from an activist Federal government.

Likewise, a reticent government is all we really need for national defense. The latter has been more than taken care of by the god-created ocean moats which secure our shores and our already paid for nuclear deterrent which keeps distant foes at bay. All the rest of the $900 billion of so-called national security spending and the vast and unremitting Washington machinations it funds are in behalf of Empire, not the safety and liberty of the homeland.

But the fly in the ointment is that several generations of Washington politicians have turned the Federal budget into a Fiscal Doomsday Machine. Spending for both automatic entitlements and so-called discretionary programs alike gushes higher, pulling the public debt upwards as it goes, with virtually no meaningful legislative action.

Consequently, the fractured and inflamed partisanship evident in today’s demented proceedings has become the handmaid of the nation’s impending fiscal catastrophe. That is, government must take positive and sweeping legislative action to brake the Doomsday Machine, but James Madison’s checks and balances have always made large-scale statutory enactments difficult, while today’s metastasized partisanship have made them well nigh impossible.

It is generally understood that the giant entitlements – Social Security, Federal retirement, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and the lesser income security programs – are automatic, permanently authorized payments that currently flow to upwards of 160 million Americans and will continue to do so, whether Congress does its job or not.

But what needs emphasis is that the rate of growth is accelerating – in effect, it is busting loose from the growth rate of the faltering national economy which must finance these massive entitlements.

Thus, between 1987 and 2000, total Federal entitlement spending soared from $358 billion to $778 billion or by 117%. But during those first 13 years of Greenspan’s reign, the Fed’s easy money was able to goose nominal GDP by 115%, meaning that the entitlement claim on GDP remained constant at about 7.5%.

Since then, it has been off to the races as shown in the graph below. During the last 19 years, nominal GDP (brown line) doubled again, but Federal entitlement spending (purple line) tripled, and it’s claim on GDP rose from 7.5% to 11.0%.

What this means is that every year the legislative stalemate and inaction persists is another year in which the Fiscal Doomsday Machine gathers even more momentum.

Moreover, the surge of beneficiaries behind the above divergence is by no means over. The 80-million strong Baby Boom will continue to clamber on to the Social Security/Medicare welcome wagon at a rate of 11,000 per day until the end of the 2020s.

The graph below is dispositive. The 39.7 million Medicare (and social security retirement, too) beneficiaries at the turn of the century are already more than 60 million, which total will rise to 81.5 million by 2030 and 92.4 million by 2050.

Needless to say, the rate of entitlement spending growth, which has already broken loose from GDP, will diverge to an even greater degree during the decades ahead. Quite simply, the already baked-in-the cake demographics of American society guarantee that work force and GDP growth will continue to weaken, even as the exploding retirement population gets ever older (on average) and therefore more costly to support.

Nor is the automatic entitlement the only aspect of the budget threatening a further breakout in the Turbulent Twenties ahead. Mandatory interest on the debt is fixing to soar at quadruple the rate of the last 19 years owing to the math of debt and interest rates.

To wit, the first 19 years of this century witnessed the full fury of central bank interest rate repression. The 10-year U.S. Treasury (UST) yield fell from 6.5% to a recent sub-basement level of just 1.75%.

Accordingly, even as the Federal debt erupted from $5.7 trillion to nearly $23 trillion, or 300%, during that period, the interest expense of the US Treasury crept up at a far more moderate pace.

Thus, interest outlays during Q3 2000 posted at a $353 billion annual rate, representing 6.2% of the $5.67 trillion of public debt then outstanding. But during the next 19 years of explosively growing Federal debt, interest expense crept up to just $584 billion at an annual rate during Q3 2019, representing but a 65% gain since the turn of the century.

Here’s the thing. Annualized interest expense in Q3 2019 amounted to just 2.6% of the debt outstanding – or barely one-third of the 6.2% level registered in Q3 2000.

It goes without saying that this disconnect between the debt and its cost of carry was a one-time fiscal windfall that has actually functioned to obfuscate the magnitude of the budget crisis gestating down below the top line. Yet according to the sheer math of the thing, it can’t happen again in the decades ahead because interest rates have already been pushed to sub-economic and unsustainable levels by the Fed and other central banks.

At minimum, therefore, interest expense will grow just as fast as the baked-in-the-cake growth of the Federal debt, which is heading toward well in excess of $40 trillion by the end of the 2020s. Accordingly, even at today’s average yield Federal interest expense will surge to $1.1 trillion per year during the next 10 years, and a lot more when interest rates finally normalize.

Growth of Federal Debt Versus Interest Expense, 2000-2019

Finally, even the so-called discretionary part of the budget – annual appropriations for defense and domestic programs – has succumbed to a form of de facto automaticity.

To wit, the Imperial City has been so fiscally euthanized by the Fed’s gift of unending cheap money and massive monetization of the public debt that both parties are on the same side of the budgetary boat. That is, in favor of more spending – with the GOP neocons and hawks pushing defense spending skyward in trade for equivalent levitation of domestic appropriations, as especially favored by the Dems.

Moreover, the Trumpified GOP has developed a deathly fear of being blamed for another government shutdown, which it falsely blames for its wipeout at the polls in 2018. So the GOP has essentially joined a bipartisan conspiracy in favor of a rolling suspension of the Federal debt limit and annual omnibus appropriations bills that are loaded with budget busting pork.

Crazily, the talking heads on bubblevision this AM were making the absurd argument that there is smooth sailing ahead because Congress just passed a 2300 page $1.4 trillionomnibus appropriations bill for the balance of FY 2020, even as it is in the midst of a partisan donnybrook on impeachment.

Supposedly, this means the government is still functioning. No sweat!

Well, yes, it is functioning, but to literally blow the top off from even the tiny discretionary spending corner of the Federal budget that until the Donald came along was exhibiting a modicum of restraint.

No more. The two-year budget deal being sent to the White House will blow the budget caps for FY2020-2021 by $320 billion, but even that isn’t the half of it.

Due to Congress’ crooked, self-serving scoring rules, budgetary caps become the basis for the outyear current policy baseline in subsequent years. Accordingly, for FY 2020 the existing caps were supposed to cause total defense and non-defense appropriations to drop by $125 billion – from $1.244 trillion in FY 2019 to $1.119 trillion in FY 2020.

This is shown in the solid black line in the chart below, and also shown by the dotted black line is the convention for projecting 10-year baseline spending from the old FY2020 and FY2021 caps.

Thanks to Congress’ alleged ability to “function” in the midst of partisan madness, however, those caps have now been blown away and none have been enacted for subsequent years. Hence the baseline for discretionary spending in the outyears is now plotted by the dotted blue line.

The difference over 10-year? A cool $1.7 trillion, and you can believe that the bipartisan duopoly on Capital Hill will drive every dime of this increase right into Uncle Sam’s trillion+ per year borrowing requirement.

Even then they were not done as they honed today’s impeachment brickbats. While they were at it, they repealed $375 billion of health care taxes that the one and same Pelosi-led Dem majority rammed through in 2010 in order to prove that Obamacare would not add to the public debt!

We have no particular brief for the medical taxes and are not surprised at all by the blatant Dem hypocrisy. After all, for the most part these massive taxes have never actually gone into effect because implementation has been deferred time and time again just before the effective dates.

Still, if you can’t repeal ObamaCare spending as the GOP miserably failed to do in 2017 and 2018, why do you get to repeal these financing means and brag you have made a blow for America’s taxpayers?

Not only do these actions bury taxpayers deeper in debt, they also guarantee that some day down the road even higher taxes will be imposed in order to finally stem the flood of red ink.

Besides that, $200 billion of the revenue loss buried in the Omnibus appropriations bill is attributable to permanent repeal of the so-called Cadillac Tax on ultra-high cost, gold-plated – mainly union – health care plans, which have a total cost of more than $30,000 per year.

That’s right. The bipartisan duopoly has now agreed to keep spending trillions over the next decade for ObamaCare but can’t even see its way clear to tax the excess value of health care plans which cost about the same as the average annual wage among the 170 million payroll tax filers in the US.

Nevertheless, when you add $70 billion of other tax loopholes which were extended and the associated debt service cost, the very “functional” Congress at work this week blew a $500 billion hole in the revenue collections over the next decade to fit on top of the $1.7 trillion of added discretionary spending.

So the Federal budget has indeed become a full-bore Doomsday Machine. There is not a scintilla of capacity or will on either side of the partisan divide to even brake its trajectory. As shown below, the publicly-held debt is heading toward 150% of GDP – a level which would crush what remains of US economic growth or encourage the Fed to print so much money monetizing this exploding public debt as to virtually destroy the financial system in the process.

Yet this gets us back to today’s contretemps.

Obviously, the Dem impeachment case is absurd. The meddling in the 2016 election was done by the Deep State intelligence agencies with the encouragement of partisan Obama officials, not the Russians; and Ukraine’s cesspool of corruption would not have smeared American politics in the slightest had Washington not fomented a coup in February 2014 against a government it didn’t like for being too friendly with its historic Russian neighbor and suzerain.

So the Donald had every reason of state to want the Ukraine corruption investigated. For crying out loud, the prosecutor fired by Biden has told exactly why it happened.

In early 2106, he had seized the property of the corrupt Ukrainian oligarch and owner of Burisma, who had hired Hunter Biden and the son-in-law and chief of staff to the Secretary of State, John Kerry. Then out of the blue, wham! He was removed from office at Biden’s command in exactly the quid pro quo manner Uncle Joe famously bragged about before an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations.

So how much stench do you really need in your nostrils to recognize that the Hunter Biden led crew of fortune hunters in Ukraine after February 2014 weren’t on the up and up?

But actually, the threadbare articles of impeachment arising from the stench of Ukraine are not really about the Donald’s 25 minute phone call and purported quid pro quo at all. The Dems have adopted the posture that the American election process itself is imperiled by the nefarious meddling of Russkies and other fureners, and are focused not on governance, but on this alleged threat to their ability to win office and hold power.

At the same time, the GOP has lost all sense of its fundamental missions in behalf of sound money, fiscal rectitude, free markers and homeland defense. Instead, it’s going full retard on its own fatuous version of the supposedly imperiled U.S. election process.

That’s what the Donald’s insane Wall on the Mexican border and the GOP’s increasingly shrill anti-immigration policy is all about. It opposes more immigrants and brown people because it believes they will vote Democrat and thereby deprive the GOP of its rightful claim on political power.

Needless to say, two parties fighting over alleged existential threats to the very essence of American democracy is the very opposite of the nothingburger ballyhooed by bubble vision this AM.

What the Trump impeachment is really about is a brutal, raw struggle for power that threatens the very survival of American democracy, and which could end up in a hung 2020 election that would make the hanging-chad ordeal of 2000 look like a walk in the park.

Even then, the Fiscal Doomsday Machine will power forward unrestrained.

And these fools on bubble vision want you to buy-the-dip.

Don’t you dare!

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/22/2019 - 21:30
Published:12/22/2019 8:47:41 PM
[Markets] The Fake Impeachment: Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory The Fake Impeachment: Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory

Authored by Joaquin Flores via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

And so it came to pass, that in the deep state’s frenzy of electoral desperation, the ‘impeachment’ card was played. The hammer has fallen. Nearly the entirety of the legacy media news cycle has been dedicated to the details, and not really pertinent details, but the sorts of details which presume the validity of the charges against Trump in the first place. Yes, they all beg the question. What’s forgotten here is that the use of this process along clearly partisan lines, and more – towards clearly partisan aims – is a very serious symptom of the larger undoing of any semblance of stability in the US government.

The fact that the impeachment is dead in the water, by Pelosi’s own admission, is evident in Trump’s being adamant that indeed it must be sent to the Senate – where he knows he’ll be exonerated. But even if it doesn’t go to the Senate, what we’re left with still appears as a loss for Democrats. Both places are his briar patch. This makes all of this a win-win for team Trump.

Only in a country that produces so much fake news at the official level, could there be a fake impeachment procedure made purely for media consumption, with no real or tangible possible victory in sight.

For in a constitutional republic like the United States, what makes an impeachment possible is when the representatives and the voters are in communion over the matter. This would normally be reflected in a mid-term election, like say for example the mid-term Senatorial race in 2018 where Democrats failed to take control. Control of the Senate would reflect a change of sentiment in the republic, which in turn and not coincidentally, would be what makes for a successful impeachment.

Don’t forget, this impeachment is fake

Nancy Pelosi is evidently extraordinarily cynical. Her politics appears to be ‘they deserve whatever they believe’. And her aim appears to be the one who makes them believe things so that they deserve what she gives them. For little else can explain the reasoning behind her claim that she will ‘send the impeachment to the Senate’ as soon as she ‘has assurances and knows how the Senate will conduct the impeachment’, except that it came from the same person who told the public regarding Obamacare that we have to ‘We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”.

In both cases, reality is turned on its head – for rather we will know how the Senate intends to conduct its procedure as soon as it has the details, which substantively includes the impeachment documents themselves, in front of them, and likewise, legislators ought to know what’s in a major piece of legislation before they vote either way on it. Pelosi’s assault on reason, however, isn’t without an ever growing tide of resentment from within the progressive base of the party itself.

We have quickly entered into a new era which increasingly resembles the broken political processes which have struck many a country, but none in living memory a country like the US. Now elected officials push judges to prosecute their political opponents, constitutional crises are manufactured to pursue personal or political vendettas, death threats and rumors of coups coming from media and celebrities being fed talking points by big and important players from powerful institutions.

This ‘impeachment’ show really takes the cake, does it not? We will recall shortly after Trump was elected, narrator for hire Morgan Freeman made a shocking public service announcement. It was for all intents and purposes, a PSA notifying the public that a military coup to remove Trump would be legitimate and in order. Speaking about this PSA, and recounting what was said, would in any event read as an exaggeration, or some allegorical paraphrasing made to prove a point. Jogging our memories then, Freeman spoke to tens of millions of viewers on television and YouTube saying:

We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge – taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-soviet Russia and becomes … president.

He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy – the United States. And like the KGB spy that he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins.

This really set the tone for the coming years, which have culminated in this manufactured ‘impeachment’ crisis, really befitting a banana republic.

It would be the height of dishonesty to approach this abuse of the impeachment procedure as if until this moment, the US’s own political culture and processes were in good shape. Now isn’t the time for the laundry list of eroded constitutional provisions, which go in a thousand and one unique directions. The US political system is surely broken, but as is the case with such large institutions several hundreds of years old, its meltdown appears to happen in slow motion to us mere mortals. And so what we are seeing today is the next phase of this break-down, and really ought to be understood as monumental in this sense. Once again revealed is the poor judgment of the Democratic Party and their agents, tools, warlords, and strategists, the same gang who sunk Hillary Clinton’s campaign on the rocks of hubris.

Nancy Pelosi also has poor judgment, and these short-sighted and self-interested moves on her part stand a strong chance of backfiring. Her role in this charade is duly noted. This isn’t said because of any disagreement over her aims, but rather that in purely objective terms it just so happens that her aims and her actions are out of synch – that is unless she wants to see Trump re-elected. Her aims are her aims, our intention is to connect these to their probable results, without moral judgments.

The real problem for the Democrats, the DNC, and any hopes for the White House in 2020, is that this all has the odor of a massive backfire, and something that Trump has been counting on happening. When one’s opponent knows what is probable, and when they have a track record for preparing very well for such, it is only a question of what Trump’s strategy is and how this falls into it, not whether there is one.

Imagine being a fly on the wall of the meeting with Pelosi where it was decided to go forward with impeachment in the House of Representatives, despite not having either sufficient traction in the Senate or any way to control the process that the Senate uses.

It probably went like this:

We’ll say we impeached him, because we did, and we’ll say he was impeached. We’ll declare victory, and go home. This will make him unelectable because of the stigma of impeachment. ‘

Informed citizens are aware that whatever their views towards Trump, nothing he has done reaches beyond the established precedent set by past presidents. Confused citizens on the other hand, are believing the manufactured talking points thrown their way, and the idea that a US president loosely reference a quid pro quo in trying to sort a corruption scandal in dealings with the president of a foreign country, is some crazy, new, never-before-done and highly-illegal thing. It is none of those things though.

Unfortunately, not needless to say, the entirety of the direct, physical evidence against Trump solely consists of the now infamous transcript of the phone call which he had with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The rest is hearsay, a conspiracy narrative, and entirely circumstantial. As this author has noted in numerous pieces, Biden’s entire candidacy rests precisely upon his need to be a candidate so that any normal investigation into the wrongdoings of himself or his son in Ukraine, suddenly become the targeted persecution of a political opponent of Trump.

Other than this, it is evident that Biden stands little chance – the same polling institutions which give him a double-digit lead were those which foretold a Clinton electoral victory. Neither their methods nor those paying and publishing them, have substantively changed. Biden’s candidacy, like the impeachment, is essentially fake. The real contenders for the party’s base are Sanders and Gabbard.

The Democratic Party Activist Base Despises Pelosi as much as Clinton

The Democratic Party has two bases, one controlled by the DNC and the Clintons, and one which consists of its energized rank-and-file activists who are clearer in their populism, anti-establishment and ant-corporate agenda. Candidates like Gabbard and Sanders are closest to them politically, though far from perfect fits. Their renegade status is confirmed by the difficulties they have with visibility – they are the new silent majority of the party. The DNC base, on the other hand, relies on Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, and the likes for their default talking points, where they have free and pervasive access to legacy media. In the context of increased censorship online, this is not insignificant.

Among the important reasons this ‘impeachment’ strategy will lose is that it will not energize the second and larger base. Even though this more progressive and populist base is also more motivated, they have faced – as has the so-called alt-light – an extraordinarily high degree of censorship on social media. Despite all the censorship, the Democrats’ silent majority are rather well-informed people, highly motivated, and tend to be vocal in their communities and places of work. Their ideas move organically and virally among the populace.

This silent majority has a very good memory, and they know very well who Nancy Pelosi is, and who she isn’t.

The silent majority remembers that after years of the public backlash against Bush’s war crimes, crimes against humanity, destruction of remaining civil liberties with the Patriot Act, torture, warrantless search – and the list goes on and on – Democrats managed to retake the lower house in 2006. If there was a legitimate reason for an impeachment, it would have been championed by Pelosi against Bush for going to war using false, falsified, manufactured evidence about WMD in Iraq. At the time, Pelosi squashed the hopes of her own electorate, reasoning that such moves would be divisive, that they would distract from the Democrats’ momentum to take the White House in ’08, that Bush had recently (?) won his last election, and so on. Of course these were real crimes, and the reasons not to prosecute may have as much to do with Pelosi’s own role in the war industry. Pelosi couldn’t really push against Bush over torture, etc. because she had been on an elite congressional committee – the House Intelligence Committee – during the Bush years in office which starting in 2003 was dedicated to making sure that torture could and would become normalized and entirely legal.

It seems Pelosi can’t even go anywhere with this impeachment on Trump today, and therefore doesn’t even really plan to submit it to the Senate for the next stage. The political stunt was pulled, a fireworks show consisting of one lonely rocket that sort of fizzled off out of sight.

Trump emerges unscathed, and more to the point, we are closer to the election and his base is even more energized. Pelosi spent the better part of three years inoculating the public against any significance being attached to any impeachment procedure. Pelosi cried wolf so many times, and Trump has made good on the opportunities handed to him to get his talking points in order and to condition his base to receive and process the scandals in such and such way. This wouldn’t have been possible without Pelosi’s help. Thanks in part to Pelosi and the DNC, Trump appears primed for re-election.

Trump energizes his base, and the DNC suppresses and disappoints theirs. That’s where the election will be won or lost.

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/22/2019 - 18:30
Tags
Published:12/22/2019 5:52:13 PM
[7fb262a0-8d20-5db6-adf2-7b185e953f86] Sally Pipes: Court ruling leaves problem-plagued ObamaCare’s future unknown – More pragmatic plan needed Lawmakers and the Trump administration need to examine pragmatic and cost-effective ways to meet our health care needs without boosting government spending by trillions of dollars as some Democratic presidential candidates advocate, while addressing the serious shortcomings of ObamaCare. Published:12/20/2019 3:34:18 AM
[Markets] Watch Live: The Final Democratic Debate Of 2019 Watch Live: The Final Democratic Debate Of 2019

Tonight's Democratic debate - the final one of 2019 - features seven candidates; the four leading candidates Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren, as well as Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer.

Of the remaining candidates, who won't be there? Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bloomberg, Deval Patrick, Michael Benne, and Marianne Williamson.

"The pressure on the candidates to manufacture drama will be considerable," notes Politico, which is hosting the event along with PBS NewsHour.

With less than two month until the Iowa caucuses, and some candidates having seen their polls (and odds) collapse, tonight's anti-Trump get-together will be their last chance for redemption before the news cycle calms a little.

Source: Bloomberg

Here are the topics that The Hill thinks will come up.

Impeachment

The debate comes exactly one day after the House voted to impeach President Trump. The issue will now go to the Senate where a trial will be held. Three of the candidates on stage, Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, will be called back to Washington for the trial. Expect them to field questions about the topic. Biden could also face questions given Trump’s call for Ukraine to investigate him and his son, which kicked off the impeachment inquiry.

Diversity

While he did not make the debate stage, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has led the charge in calling for more diversity on the debate stage. Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro were joined by all of the candidates appearing on Thursday’s debate in requesting the Democratic National Committee lower the qualification standards for debates in January and February. The topic could come up, given the attention it’s gotten in the run-up to the forum.

Labor rights

The Democratic Party has long maintained strong connections to the labor movement in the U.S., and those ties were on display earlier this week when all of the candidates pledged not to cross the picket line if Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11 did not come to an agreement. The candidates could receive some questions on how they would work with labor groups as president.

Environment

The issue of combatting climate change could also come up, given California’s struggle this year with wildfires. Environment advocate Greta Thunberg has also been in the news recently after being named Time’s Person of the Year. President Trump attacked her on Twitter after she received the award, saying she needed to work on anger management issues. Biden jumped to Thunberg’s defense, saying “What kind of president bullies a teenager?”

Health Care

The topic has played a role in most of the primary debates, with the progressive candidates pushing for a "Medicare for All" plan, while centrist candidates have advocated for building upon the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. Expect this topic to come up as one of the party’s currently most hotly contested issues.

*  *  *

Watch live (due to start at 2000ET):

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/19/2019 - 19:55
Tags
Published:12/19/2019 7:01:25 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Josh Blackman] Is Texas v. U.S. really "necessary"? Nearly a decade after its enactment, the Affordable Care Act remains under constant siege. Indeed, covering Obamacare reminds me of the film Groundhog Day: the same script repeats itself over and over again, in slightly different contexts. The Supreme Court has twice rejected challenges to the Affordable Care Act's survival. Now, the third major challenge… Published:12/19/2019 4:28:11 PM
[Markets] What the Obamacare court ruling means if you have Affordable Care Act insurance The Fifth Circuit decision affects approximately 20 million Americans with Obamacare health insurance plans.
Published:12/19/2019 1:27:54 PM
[Health Care] An Appeals Court Rules Against Obamacare. Here’s What Lawmakers Should Do Next.

A divided panel of judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on Wednesday declared part of Obamacare unconstitutional—but the case is... Read More

The post An Appeals Court Rules Against Obamacare. Here’s What Lawmakers Should Do Next. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/19/2019 11:57:24 AM
[] Fifth Circuit Rules That Obamacare's Individual Manadate is Unconstitutional; Remands Case to Lower Court to Determine if All of Obamacare Must Therefore Be Found Unconstitutional If you've forgotten the backstory, Roberts ruled that Obamacare itself was Constitutional as part of the tax power of Congress, even though Congress explicitly denied it was a tax and deliberately crafted the individual mandate to not be scored as... Published:12/18/2019 6:54:25 PM
[] Appeals court rules Obamacare's individual mandate is unconstitutional The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling today that found Obamacare's individual mandate to be unconstitutional as it exists today. The court did not reach a conclusion on whether or not the mandate was severable from the rest of the Obamacare law. Instead, the court sent the case]] Published:12/18/2019 6:23:01 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Jonathan H. Adler] BREAKING—Fifth Circuit Declares Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Punts on Whether Rest of ACA Must Fall As if there wasn't enough going on this week, a federal appellate court issues a significant (and significantly flawed) ruling in the latest Obamacare challenge Published:12/18/2019 6:02:11 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: Appeals court ruled major part of Obamacare unconstitutional! Obamacare took a beating in the courts today, with the individual mandate being ruled unconstitutional by two out of three federal judges on the fifth circuit: 🚨🚨🚨 The Fifth Circuit has upheld . . . Published:12/18/2019 6:02:11 PM
[Uncategorized] While everyone was focused on impeachment, 5th Circuit cut the legs out from under Obamacare 5th Circuit upheld the lower court ruling that the Obamacare mandate is unconstitutional, but remanded to the District Court for further consideration of whether that means the entire law falls. Published:12/18/2019 6:02:11 PM
[Health Care] Spending Deal Would Make Obamacare More Fiscally Irresponsible

In selling Obamacare before Congress a decade ago, President Barack Obama promised that he “would not sign a plan that adds one dime to our... Read More

The post Spending Deal Would Make Obamacare More Fiscally Irresponsible appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/17/2019 2:20:01 PM
[2020 Election News] Liar: Biden Falsely Says He Helped Find Republican Votes For Obamacare

By Chris White -

Former Vice President Joe Biden falsely said at a rally Friday that he found Republican votes to pass the Affordable Care Act during his time in the Obama administration. “We need someone with a proven ability to bring people together and do the hard work of getting legislation passed,” Biden ...

Liar: Biden Falsely Says He Helped Find Republican Votes For Obamacare is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/14/2019 2:29:05 PM
[Politics] Column: Obamacare study proves that having health insurance will reduce U.S. death rates

Experts at Stanford and the IRS found that the Obamacare mandate got people to buy insurance, and the insurance reduced death rates

Published:12/9/2019 5:01:32 PM
[Markets] The Washington Post's Double Standard On Immigration And Guns The Washington Post's Double Standard On Immigration And Guns

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Last week, the Washington Post's editorial board came out against sanctuary cities. No, not the kind of sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce federal immigration law. The Post's editors have no problem with that. Instead, the Post came out against the efforts by some local governments to oppose state- and federal-level enforcement of restrictions on gun ownership.

The Post didn't go easy on these efforts either. The editorial likened the gun-owner sanctuary efforts to "vigilantism" and "frontier justice," with the obvious implication being these people are one step away from organizing lynch mobs. Moreover, we're told the movement is "nonsense fanned by mischief-makers with an agenda," and will lead to "chaos."

Recognizing the obvious double standard the Post is proposing for immigrant sanctuaries and gun-owner sanctuaries, the authors try to explain it all away:

The distinction between the two sanctuaries is basic. Localities that have passed resolutions declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuary jurisdictions are threatening to ignore laws enacted by duly elected state legislatures and signed by governors. Immigration-focused sanctuary localities are breaking no law; rather, they are refusing purely voluntary cooperation in service to federal law enforcement.

It's pretty hard to split this hair any finer. The Post's distinction here seems to be that local nullification of federal law is acceptable, but local nullification of state law is not.

Of course, whether or not local governments are breaking a law depends on each state's constitution and the nature of "home rule" in each state. Indeed, in California, Judge James Crandall, appointed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, ruled against California's law mandating local enforcement of immigration law. Crandall argued the law was "an unconstitutional invasion into the rights of the city." He also said "the operation of a police department and its jail is a city affair. For the state to say one size fits all for policing isn’t going to fit everybody." This state law was enacted — to use the words of the Post editors — "by duly elected state legislatures."

Does the Post agree or disagree with the judge's logic? If the Post's editors disagree, then on what grounds to they justify support for local governments that ignore state laws mandating compliance with immigration enforcement? If the editors agree with the ruling, then on what grounds do they deny a local government's freedom to enforce gun laws as they wish?

Several states, including Florida, have adopted laws that prohibit sanctuary cities. According to this source, at least one local government in Florida has declared itself a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Shall we expect an editorial from the Post denouncing this flouting of state laws? That seems unlikely.

Moreover, since the Post is now coming out in favor of state and local indifference toward federal law, will the Post's editors be throwing their support behind state-level efforts to nullify federal Obamacare laws or federal gun laws?

Obviously, that's not going to happen, and we should not expect any consistency on this from the Post. To anyone who is paying attention, it is clear the Post truly has a double standard here, and has been casting about for ways to justify support for one type of local nullification, while opposing a different kind.

What the Post should have done was just come out and state what is likely the editorial board's real position: namely that restrictions on gun ownership are good, and restrictions on immigration are bad.

The conclusion: it is moral to ignore laws restricting immigration. But it is immoral to ignore laws restricting gun ownership.

Although this position on guns is certainly wrong, the Post's editors could at least have been respected for saying what they really meant. Instead, they fall back on a disingenuous claim that they support the law, and that anything else is "chaos."

This ersatz conservatism was no doubt an attempt to appeal to people who fancy themselves as "reasonable" or "moderate." Indeed many of these sorts of people continue to support the War on Drugs with nonsense about how we're all obliged to follow clearly unconstitutional federal drug laws until those laws are changed. Nonetheless, the Post's approach is inherently dishonest and double-dealing.

A truly consistent position is to let states and locals decide for themselves on all of these issues.

In a 2017 column for mises.org, I said exactly this:

If California establishes — yet again — that states can ignore and even inhibit federal arrests and prosecutions in the states, then it becomes all the easier for other states to refuse to enforce federal gun laws, federal drug laws, Obamacare, or federal mandates that states provide welfare programs and "free" taxpayer-funded services to non-citizens.

The only tool the federal government should have in these cases is to cut off funding. This is a very powerful tool, mind you, but it is also hardly a given that every state would face disaster if facing a cut in federal spending. Nor is this a one-way street. for political reasons, the federal government wants to spend money in the states just as much as the states want to receive it.

So, let's make every state a sanctuary from federal gun laws, federal immigration law, federal drug laws, federal election laws, and more.

We should take this even further, of course, and support broad "home rule" powers for individual cities and counties, so they can decide for themselves what state laws to enforce, and which to nullify. Only by decentralizing and localizing political power can we hope to have laws that actually reflect to a reasonable extent the values of the local population. Radical decentralization also makes it easier for those who disagree with these policies to escape them through physical relocation. The alternative is more of what we already have: both state and federal governments impose the will of the majority in the legislature on the minority. Often, this is a near fifty-fifty split, yet we're suppose to believe, for example, that all 39 million Californians in a place larger than Britain are obliged to follow state laws because, say, 51 percent of the population supports those policies. And if you're in the minority? Tough luck, forever. Oh, and you'll have to move hundreds of miles away to live under different laws.

If the Post really supported democracy, it would want more of it. That is, it would want more legislative bodies — whether city councils, county commissions or state legislatures — to decide matters for themselves. And that includes laws covering guns.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/05/2019 - 12:25
Published:12/5/2019 11:34:44 AM
[2020 Election News] Biden: Buttigieg ‘Stole’ My Health Care Plan

By Mary Margaret Olohan -

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg “stole” his health care plan. Biden has proposed expanding the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, and Biden wants to add a “public option,” allowing individuals to opt into a government plan while maintaining private insurer’s ...

Biden: Buttigieg ‘Stole’ My Health Care Plan is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/3/2019 11:22:53 AM
[Markets] 45 Population-Control Quotes That Expose The Elites' Plan To Cut The Number Of People On The Planet 45 Population-Control Quotes That Expose The Elites' Plan To Cut The Number Of People On The Planet

Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

At one time, the elite at least attempted to conceal their boundless enthusiasm for population control from the general public, but now they aren’t even trying to hide it anymore. On Tuesday, an alarming new study that advocates global population control as one of the solutions to the “climate emergency” that we are facing was published in the journal BioScience. This document has already been signed by 11,258 scientists from 153 different countries, and it openly calls for a reduction in the human population of our planet. This has always been the endgame for the climate change cult, but now a big push is being made to make the public believe that there is a “scientific consensus” that this is necessary.

You can find a summary of the report here, and I would very much encourage you to read it, because it is essentially a blueprint for where the elite intend to take humanity in the years ahead.

But in order to achieve their goals, first they are going to have to convince us that planetary disaster is imminent, and in this study the authors boldly tell us “that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency”

Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.

Sounds pretty scary, right?

So what solutions are they proposing?

Well, the study breaks down the necessary solutions into six basic groupings

The letter focuses on six key objectives: replacing fossil fuels; cutting pollutants like methane and soot; restoring and protecting ecosystems; eating less meat; converting the economy to one that is carbon-free and stabilising population growth.

If that sounds a lot like “the Green New Deal”, that is because it is a lot like “the Green New Deal”.

It is the sixth “objective” that concerns me the most. Because the truth is that they don’t want to just “stabilize” the global population.

According to the study, the population of the Earth really needs to be “gradually reduced”…

Still increasing by roughly 80 million people per year, or more than 200,000 per day (figure 1a–b), the world population must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity. There are proven and effective policies that strengthen human rights while lowering fertility rates and lessening the impacts of population growth on GHG emissions and biodiversity loss. These policies make family-planning services available to all people, remove barriers to their access and achieve full gender equity, including primary and secondary education as a global norm for all, especially girls and young women (Bongaarts and O’Neill 2018).

But if humans are the primary driver of climate change, and if we only have about 12 years before we reach the point of no return as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suggested, will a “gradual” reduction of the human population really be enough to satisfy the climate change zealots?

For true believers in the cause, there would be no faster way of turning this crisis around than to radically reduce the population of the planet. According to them, every one of us has “a carbon footprint”, and as the population grows the climate change crisis only gets worse. So a logical extension of this thinking would be that anyone that can find a way to significantly reduce the global population would literally be “saving the planet”. To you and I, the idea of millions or billions of people dying is absolutely horrific, but for those that have fully embraced the climate change narrative such an outcome would be extremely desirable.

And of course population control has been an obsession among the global elite for a very long time. Way before “global warming” and “climate change” were popularized, those at the top end of the social pyramid have been dreaming of dramatically culling the herd.

To demonstrate this, I would like to share with you 45 quotes that prove the elite really do want to dramatically reduce the number of people on the planet…

1. Charles Darwin (his thinking is at the foundation of so many of our scientific theories today): “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state as we may hope, than the Caucasian and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

2. Bill Gates: “The problem is that the population is growing the fastest where people are less able to deal with it. So it’s in the very poorest places that you’re going to have a tripling in population by 2050. (…) And we’ve got to make sure that we help out with the tools now so that they don’t have an impossible situation later.”

3. Bernie Sanders: “In poor countries around the world where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies, and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to control the number of kids they have, is something I very, very strongly support.”

4. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “The primary challenge facing our species is the reproduction of our species itself…It is time we had a grown-up discussion about the optimum quantity of human beings in this country and on this planet…All the evidence shows that we can help reduce population growth, and world poverty, by promoting literacy and female emancipation and access to birth control.”

5. UK Television Presenter Sir David Attenborough: “The human population can no longer be allowed to grow in the same old uncontrolled way. If we do not take charge of our population size, then nature will do it for us.”

6. Paul Ehrlich, a former science adviser to president George W. Bush and the author of “The Population Bomb”: “Solving the population problem is not going to solve the problems of racism… of sexism… of religious intolerance… of war… of gross economic inequality. But if you don’t solve the population problem, you’re not going to solve any of those problems. Whatever problem you’re interested in, you’re not going to solve it unless you also solve the population problem.”

7. Dave Foreman, the co-founder of Earth First: “We humans have become a disease, the Humanpox.”

8. CNN Founder Ted Turner: “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”

9. Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso: about medical patients with serious illnesses: “You cannot sleep well when you think it’s all paid by the government. This won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”

10. David Rockefeller: “The negative impact of population growth on all of our planetary ecosystems is becoming appallingly evident.”

11. Richard Branson: “The truth is this: the Earth cannot provide enough food and fresh water for 10 billion people, never mind homes, never mind roads, hospitals and schools.”

12. Environmental activist Roger Martin: “On a finite planet, the optimum population providing the best quality of life for all, is clearly much smaller than the maximum, permitting bare survival. The more we are, the less for each; fewer people mean better lives.”

13. HBO personality Bill Maher: “I’m pro-choice, I’m for assisted suicide, I’m for regular suicide, I’m for whatever gets the freeway moving – that’s what I’m for. It’s too crowded, the planet is too crowded and we need to promote death.”

14. Al Gore: “One of the things we could do about it is to change the technologies, to put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population, and one of the principal ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women. You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children to have, the spacing of the children… You have to educate girls and empower women. And that’s the most powerful leveraging factor, and when that happens, then the population begins to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices and more balanced choices.”

15. MIT professor Penny Chisholm: “The real trick is, in terms of trying to level off at someplace lower than that 9 billion, is to get the birthrates in the developing countries to drop as fast as we can. And that will determine the level at which humans will level off on earth.”

16. Julia Whitty, a columnist for Mother Jones: “The only known solution to ecological overshoot is to decelerate our population growth faster than it’s decelerating now and eventually reverse it—at the same time we slow and eventually reverse the rate at which we consume the planet’s resources. Success in these twin endeavors will crack our most pressing global issues: climate change, food scarcity, water supplies, immigration, health care, biodiversity loss, even war. On one front, we’ve already made unprecedented strides, reducing global fertility from an average 4.92 children per woman in 1950 to 2.56 today—an accomplishment of trial and sometimes brutally coercive error, but also a result of one woman at a time making her individual choices. The speed of this childbearing revolution, swimming hard against biological programming, rates as perhaps our greatest collective feat to date.”

17. Colorado State University Professor Philip Cafaro in a paper entitled “Climate Ethics and Population Policy”: “Ending human population growth is almost certainly a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for preventing catastrophic global climate change. Indeed, significantly reducing current human numbers may be necessary in order to do so.

18. Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at Austin Eric R. Pianka: “I have two grandchildren and I want them to inherit a stable Earth. But I fear for them. Humans have overpopulated the Earth and in the process have created an ideal nutritional substrate on which bacteria and viruses (microbes) will grow and prosper. We are behaving like bacteria growing on an agar plate, flourishing until natural limits are reached or until another microbe colonizes and takes over, using them as their resource. In addition to our extremely high population density, we are social and mobile, exactly the conditions that favor growth and spread of pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes. I believe it is only a matter of time until microbes once again assert control over our population, since we are unwilling to control it ourselves. This idea has been espoused by ecologists for at least four decades and is nothing new. People just don’t want to hear it.”

19. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General from 1997-2006: “The idea that population growth guarantees a better life — financially or otherwise — is a myth that only those who sell nappies, prams and the like have any right to believe.”

20. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UN Under-Secretary-General from 2000-2010: “We cannot confront the massive challenges of poverty, hunger, disease and environmental destruction unless we address issues of population and reproductive health.”

21. Bill Nye: “In 1750, there were about a billion humans in the world. Now, there are well over seven billion people in the world. It more than doubled in my lifetime. So all these people trying to live the way we live in the developed world is filling the atmosphere with a great deal more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than existed a couple of centuries ago. It’s the speed at which it is changing that is going to be troublesome for so many large populations of humans around the world.”

22. Actress Cameron Diaz: “I think women are afraid to say that they don’t want children because they’re going to get shunned. But I think that’s changing too now. I have more girlfriends who don’t have kids than those that do. And, honestly? We don’t need any more kids. We have plenty of people on this planet.”

23. Democrat strategist Steven Rattner: “WE need death panels. Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.”

24. Matthew Yglesias, a business and economics correspondent for Slate, in an article entitled “The Case for Death Panels, in One Chart”: “But not only is this health care spending on the elderly the key issue in the federal budget, our disproportionate allocation of health care dollars to old people surely accounts for the remarkable lack of apparent cost effectiveness of the American health care system. When the patient is already over 80, the simple fact of the matter is that no amount of treatment is going to work miracles in terms of life expectancy or quality of life.”

25. Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger: “All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class”

26. Gloria Steinem: “Everybody with a womb doesn’t have to have a child any more than everybody with vocal chords has to be an opera singer.”

27. Jane Goodall: “It’s our population growth that underlies just about every single one of the problems that we’ve inflicted on the planet. If there were just a few of us, then the nasty things we do wouldn’t really matter and Mother Nature would take care of it — but there are so many of us.”

28. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

29. Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger: “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

30. Salon columnist Mary Elizabeth Williams in an article entitled “So What If Abortion Ends Life?”: “All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides.”

31. Paul Ehrlich: “Basically, then, there are only two kinds of solutions to the population problem. One is a ‘birth rate solution,’ in which we find ways to lower the birth rate. The other is a ‘death rate solution,’ in which ways to raise the death rate — war, famine, pestilence — find us.”

32. Alberto Giubilini of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and Francesca Minerva of the University of Melbourne in a paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics: “[W]hen circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible. … [W]e propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus … rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”

33. Nina Fedoroff, a key adviser to Hillary Clinton: “We need to continue to decrease the growth rate of the global population; the planet can’t support many more people.”

34. Barack Obama’s primary science adviser, John Holdren: “A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men.”

35. Another quote from John Holdren: “If population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.”

36. David Brower, the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club: “Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license … All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”

37. Maurice Strong: “Either we reduce the world’s population voluntarily or nature will do this for us, but brutally.”

38. Thomas Ferguson, former official in the U.S. State Department Office of Population Affairs: “There is a single theme behind all our work–we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it…”

39. Mikhail Gorbachev: “We must speak more clearly about sexuality, contraception, about abortion, about values that control population, because the ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren’t enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage.”

40. Jacques Costeau: “In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it is just as bad not to say it.”

41. Finnish environmentalist Pentti Linkola: “If there were a button I could press, I would sacrifice myself without hesitating if it meant millions of people would die”

42. Author Dan Brown: “Overpopulation is an issue so profound that all of us need to ask what should be done.”

43. Prince Phillip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II and co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”

44. Ashley Judd: “It’s unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.”

45. Charles Darwin: “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

As you can see, this kind of thinking goes all the way back to Charles Darwin.

The elite really do look down on all the rest of us with great disdain, and let us hope that their goal of dramatically reducing the size of the human population is not realized any time soon.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/06/2019 - 16:40
Published:11/6/2019 3:43:46 PM
[Markets] "What Are You Thinking?": Pelosi Warns 2020 Candidates They're On The Wrong Track "What Are You Thinking?": Pelosi Warns 2020 Candidates They're On The Wrong Track

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thinks Democrats running for president in 2020 might strike out against Trump with ultra-liberal policies that fire up the party's progressive base, yet might not go over so well with swing voters in flyover states.

Proposals pushed by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders like Medicare for All and a wealth tax play well in liberal enclaves like her own district in San Francisco but won’t sell in the Midwestern states that sent Trump to the White House in 2016, she said. -Bloomberg

"What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan,"Pelosi said in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg. "What works in Michigan works in San Francisco — talking about workers’ rights and sharing prosperity."

"Remember November," she added. "You must win the Electoral College."

And while she didn't back any particular candidate running for office, Pelosi said Democrats should be focusing on "lower costs of prescription drugs, bigger paychecks by building infrastructure, and cleaner government."

She also worries that candidates like Warren and Sanders are going down the wrong track by trying to 'out-left' each other to court fellow progressives while abandoning moderate voters that the party needs to win back from Trump.

"As a left-wing San Francisco liberal I can say to these people: What are you thinking?" Pelosi said. "You can ask the left — they’re unhappy with me for not being a socialist."

Pelosi also expressed concerns that voters don't care about the Green New Deal promoted by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, which calls for rapid, radical reductions in carbon emissions.

"There’s very strong opposition on the labor side to the Green New Deal because it’s like 10 years, no more fossil fuel. Really?" said Pelosi.

The speaker’s concerns reflect those of many Democratic leaders and donors who believe that left-wing policies will alienate swing voters and lead to defeat.

Warren and Sanders are betting on a different theory — that voters who float between parties are less ideological and can be inspired to vote for candidates who represent bold new change in Washington.

Pelosi said Democrats should seek to build on President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act instead of pushing ahead with the more sweeping Medicare for All plan favored by Warren and Sanders that would create a government-run health care system and abolish private insurance. -Bloomberg

Instead, Pelosi says Democrats need to salvage Obamacare:

"Protect the Affordable Care Act — I think that’s the path to health care for all Americans. Medicare For All has its complications," she said, adding that "the Affordable Care Act is a better benefit than Medicare."

Warren on Friday announced that her Medicare for All plan would cost $52 trillion (raising federal spending by $20.5 trillion over 10 years), and would be funded through a wave of taxes on large corporations, the wealthy, cracking down on tax evasion, an $800 billion reduction in defense spending, and putting newly legalized immigrants on the tax rolls. The Biden campaign called her plan "mathematical gymnastics" which would raise taxes on the middle class. Warren hit back, accusing Biden of "running in the wrong presidential primary."

"Democrats are not going to win by repeating Republican talking points," Warren said while speaking in Des Moines, Iowa. "So, if Biden doesn’t like that, I’m just not sure where he’s going."

Watch above, or read the rest of the report here.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/02/2019 - 14:00
Published:11/2/2019 1:17:04 PM
[Health Care] Trump Administration Is Right to Eye Free-Market Health Plan Finders

One lesson learned from the disastrous 2013 launch of the Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, is that the federal government isn’t much of a tech-savvy e-commerce innovator.... Read More

The post Trump Administration Is Right to Eye Free-Market Health Plan Finders appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:10/25/2019 1:59:30 PM
[Markets] Zombie Nation? The Democratic Party Is Dead, And Everyone Knows It But Them Zombie Nation? The Democratic Party Is Dead, And Everyone Knows It But Them

Authored by Helen Buyniski via HelenOfDestroy.com,

Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, thought to have finally retired from politics after an embarrassing electoral loss to a politically-inexperienced reality show personality, is threatening to enter the 2020 race, serving up reheated Cold War fearmongering and an ironclad sense of royal privilege to a Trump-weary populace. A morally and fiscally bankrupt Democratic Party is poised to enable this sick drama with the help of a spineless and compliant media.

How could this possibly happen? Surely Democrats learned their lesson after their decision to take Clinton’s money in order to stay financially solvent in 2016 required them to rig the primaries in her favor, a crime that likely tanked her candidacy when it was revealed by WikiLeaks? Surely the mainstream media realizes that, three years on, the preposterous Russiagate conspiracy theory they cooked up to defend her has ripped the last shreds of journalistic integrity out of the mainstream media establishment?

Just kidding — the Democratic Party and its media handmaidens bargained away their morals long ago. They’re aiding and abetting a Clinton comeback, wheeling her out to give her opinion on everything from the latest steps toward peace in Syria (bad, needs more war) to the 2020 candidates. Last week, she took aim at Tulsi Gabbard, the best hope the party has of getting voters excited enough to show up in 2020, claiming (without a shred of evidence) that the National Guard major and former DNC chair is being groomed by Russia to act as a third-party spoiler, handing the election to Trump. Had such a claim come from anyone else, the DNC would have slapped it down. But they know on which side their bread is buttered. They’d rather lose than defy their queen.

Let’s do the time warp again

This month’s primary debates proved that, if nothing else, the party has refused to move on from 2016. Candidates clamored to distinguish themselves as the biggest Trump-hater and impeachment zealot, with not one appearing to comprehend that next in line behind their favorite punching bag is Mike Pence. The vice president is a man so possessed by religious sexual phobia that he refuses to be alone in a room with a woman. A Christian Zionist, he is even more willing than Trump to send US soldiers to fight Israel’s battles — the better to hasten the Rapture. Only Andrew Yang — a party outsider — dared speak the truth: “When we are talking about Donald Trump, we’re losing.”

Indeed, everything about the 2020 election is signaling a repeat of the last one. The DNC is broke again, ripe for a Clinton rescue that will once again require the rigging of the primary in return for her kindness. Naysayers who once laughed at the idea of yet another Clinton candidacy are reconsidering their scorn, and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon insists she is, in fact, running — merely waiting for the right moment to officially declare her candidacy. Certainly the media blitz of the past few weeks — ostensibly to promote a book co-written with her do-nothing daughter, but in reality a string of opportunities for her to denounce the “illegitimate” president and remind America that the position is rightfully hers — looks like a campaign publicity tour.

i’ll take “sore loser” for $1.2 billion, please

For all that Clinton says she empathizes with current Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, currently being accused of corruption, she has, in these interviews, always brought the conversation back around to 2016, insisting that “the most outrageously false things” were said about her as well (and lamenting that “enough people believed them” to rob her of the presidency). Biden, like Clinton, is still being pushed as the 2020 favorite, despite coming with decades of baggage including flagrant corruption (threatening to withhold $1 billion in IMF loans from Ukraine until it fired the prosecutor probing an energy company that gave his son a no-show job is only the tip of the iceberg).

Even the New York Times has pointed out the similarities between their two candidacies — both physically deteriorating before voters’ eyes, uninterested in changing the status quo, and embraced by the wealthy donors that keep the party afloat. Biden’s Ukraine problem is as massive and impossible to avoid as Clinton’s email problem. Biden, like Clinton, is positioning himself as not the best candidate, but the only one who can beat Trump — embracing his identity as, he hopes, the lesser of two evils. Both have a long history in politics, dozens of skeletons in the closet (literally, in Clinton’s case), and a string of failed presidential attempts. Both cringingly pander to working-class and minority voters despite a history of racism (“superpredators,” the 1994 crime bill, close friendship with segregationists) and classism (NAFTA).

If at first you don’t succeed…

Ever the strategist, Clinton is likely biding her time until the facts come out about Biden’s involvement in Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma during impeachment hearings and sink his candidacy. She’ll then swoop in, volunteering to take his place as the crusty old standard-bearer of the Democratic pack. Biden’s suicidal stubbornness all but ensures he’ll go down in flames (despite his son Hunter’s admitted drug problems and the obvious nepotism and corruption behind his receiving a $60,000/month directorship just months after being kicked out of the Navy Reserves for cocaine use, Biden insists Hunter will join him on the campaign trail).

Clinton feels the presidency is hers by divine right — that it’s “her turn” to take the reins, like she was promised after Obama snatched it out from under her in 2008. Having paid her dues as First Lady, the long-suffering wife and enabler of serial rapist Bill Clinton occupied a Senate seat just long enough to present herself to the public as a stateswoman in her own right, then made a run at the glass ceiling of the presidency — only to be rejected in favor of a spray-tanned novice without her baggage. Patiently serving as Secretary of State, she oversaw the destruction of Libya, once the jewel of the Middle East under Gaddafi with the highest standard of living on the African continent, turning it into the failed state with open-air slave markets it is today. Thwarted in her efforts to do the same in Syria, she left the White House in 2012.

a rare shot of Cthulhu in his sea-floor auditorium practicing his political speeches

Clinton transformed the State Department into an extension of the Pentagon via her misleadingly-named “smart power” philosophy. The agency once tasked with solving America’s foreign policy problems diplomatically now merely provides diplomatic cover for regime-change operations like the one she helped engineer in Ukraine in 2014 (while she left the State Department in 2013, the processes she set in motion would culminate in the Maidan revolution that saw actual Nazis take over in Kiev) and the one currently trying to pry Hong Kong from China’s grasp.

She also monetized the position, selling access to the presidency through the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons vastly enriched themselves at the expense of the rest of the world, having never met a dictator they didn’t like. But while they elevated corruption to an art form, their actions were wholly in keeping with the modus operandi of the Democratic Party. Swaddle oneself in the appearance of helping the less fortunate (Clinton has appeared with countless ‘save the children’ and ‘women’s empowerment’ type groups like Somaly Mam’s AFESIP, which notoriously invented Cambodian child brothel horror stories out of whole cloth) while exploiting them to within an inch of their lives (Haitians still protest outside Clinton events over the Foundation’s decision to give over 90 percent of the $13.3 billion given in response to the 2010 earthquake to foreign contractors and Foundation donors while Haitians starved and died).

The rot goes to the core

Clinton wouldn’t be able to get away with this sort of thing if her party wasn’t fully on board with such moral depravity. The current impeachment circus is merely the latest proof that they do not believe anything they say in public. For the entire party and its stenographers in the media to turn on a dime from accusing Trump of colluding with Russia to accusing him of engaging in quid-pro-quo with Ukraine (an enemy of Russia, if one is paying attention) suggests they don’t believe either scandal is necessarily based on facts, but that, to quote congressman and impeachment fanboy Al Green, “if we don’t impeach the president, he will get reelected.”

After losing its collective mind with the 2016 defeat, the Democratic Party, led by Clinton and outgoing President Obama along with CIA director John Brennan and FBI chief James Comey, cobbled together Russiagate as their revenge. Relying on a network of spooks and paid operatives, they conjured up a half-baked menace from the depths of Americans’ collective Cold War memories, light on facts but heavy on the implications, with just enough salacious material to ensure it would go viral. The intention was to cripple Trump’s presidency — if they couldn’t remove him from office, they could at least ensure he played by their rules rather than follow through on wild promises to end the wars in Syria and Afghanistan and normalize relations with Moscow. The status quo held until the release of special counsel Mueller’s Russiagate report meant the media could no longer claim with a straight face that Trump was scheduled to be executed for treason any second now. But top Democrats were unfazed when it was exposed as a hoax — they’d invented it in the first place.

actual post-election moment

If not a sense of moral outrage that the president is colluding with a foreign power, what has driven the party leadership and its enablers in the media to pursue Trump to the ends of the earth? Democrats’ choice of impeachment issues is proof they lack any sort of moral center — as fake as Russiagate and Ukrainegate are, there are dozens of issues that could potentially be used to skewer Trump. The sky-high civilian casualty rates and record number of bombs dropped on his watch don’t faze Democrats — after all, Bush and Obama started those wars, and neither were impeached for the atrocities committed under their watch.

If anything, Democrats are clamoring for more war, shrieking after Trump announced the latest attempt at a troop pullout from Syria that such an action was unthinkable. Weeping and gnashing their teeth over the impending “genocide” of the Kurds, they spun on a dime when Trump announced a five-day ceasefire with Turkey last week, claiming such a deal — which gave Kurdish militias ample time to vanish from the Turkish border area without being attacked — somehow “discredited” American foreign policy. The Democrat-controlled House even voted to condemn the troop pullout — perhaps forgetting they’d never authorized the deployment of troops to Syria in the first place, an easy mistake to make as the US military has been industriously building up a base infrastructure in flagrant violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

The Trump administration’s blatant nepotism — Jared Kushner, a pampered princeling who has never held a real job in his life, was tasked with making peace between Israel and Palestine, despite blatant partiality toward the Netanyahu government (Bibi slept at the Kushners’ home in New Jersey) — didn’t bat a single Democratic eyelash. After all, Hunter Biden got his own lucrative sinecure in Ukraine with as few credentials. The massive deregulation that has seen the deficit skyrocket as corporations and the wealthy pay even less taxes than they did before bothers no one — Democratic donors benefited as much as Republicans, even though billionaires now pay a lower tax rate than the working class. Trump spitting in the face of international law by “declaring” first Jerusalem and then the Golan Heights the property of Israel went down smoothly as can be — no surprise when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself has said that she would back Israel “even if the Capitol crumbles to the ground.” Democrats’ problem has always been finding an “impeachable offense” Trump was committing that they were not also guilty of.

relevance is Russian

The devil’s rejects

Perhaps Democrats’ awareness that they’re morally as well as fiscally bankrupt is what drives them to make the same mistakes they did four years ago. Just as they did with Bernie Sanders, the party is doing its utmost to sideline Tulsi Gabbard at every opportunity, barring her from September’s debate despite her polling higher than several candidates who were included and refusing to speak up for her in the face of Clinton’s baseless smear. Their hypocrisy is transparent, preaching identity politics until a Hindu woman emerges championing antiwar policies. Gabbard is the only one bringing fresh ideas to the table, ideas that have excited many voters sick of the shame they feel knowing their country is the number one killer since World War II. Spike her, and they’re almost guaranteed to lose.

As if to prove that point, Clinton pounced on the Hawaii congresswoman last week with her “Russian asset” smear — not referring to Gabbard by name, but making it clear she was talking about no one else. Her spokesman Nick Merrill, asked if Clinton was really saying Gabbard — who served in the Iraq war — was an agent, confirmed the smear: “If the nesting doll fits…” In a sane society, Clinton’s disapproval would be a badge of honor (and to her credit, Gabbard appears to be wearing it as such) — but in the mainstream media hothouse, it’s another strike against her — along with the guilt-by-association smears that come with a 4chan fan club and even her looks.

Sanders might be able to muster a win against Trump, but at 78, his health is failing, and his base is wary after he betrayed them in 2016. Despite stolen primaries in New York and California, he sat mutely, throwing his own supporters under the bus during the convention. After a solid year of slamming Clinton for giving secret speeches to Goldman Sachs, voting to bail out the banks in 2008, and backing every war in the past three decades, Sanders turned on his supporters and implored them to vote for her. He remained silent while his supporters demanded a legal reckoning. Some have forgiven him and returned to cheer him on in 2020, but many have not.

Nevertheless, he is head and shoulders above most Democrats, who are completely for sale to the highest bidder, whether it’s Israel, the arms industry or Big Pharma. They violate the Constitution on a daily basis, whether it’s by voting to make participation in boycotts of Israel illegal (a blatant violation of the First Amendment, as a Texas court recently found; passing a law permitting indefinite detention without trial for American citizens (as Obama did in 2011, backed by a supine Congress, in violation of the Sixth Amendment); or outlawing religious vaccine exemptions (a violation of both the First Amendment and the Geneva Convention).

In perhaps the most shocking betrayal of the party’s liberal and progressive wing, Democrats have embraced the CIA, the FBI, and the entire intelligence apparatus that has infiltrated and destroyed leftist movements since the 1960s. Once the home of the counterculture, the Party now clings to authority, enthusiastically licking the boots they believe will curb-stomp Trump. Bereft of historical perspective — even the torture revelations of the early 2000s have vanished amid the onslaught of Orange Man Bad — Democrats ironically calling themselves the Resistance wear slogans like “It’s Mueller time!” and “Comey is my homey,” broadcasting their allegiance to men who’ve covered up monumental crimes and even committed a few themselves. It’s no surprise to see the mainstream media taking the side of the intelligence agencies — assets like Anderson Cooper, Ken Dilanian, and Wolf Blitzer have been keeping newsrooms safe for democracy for decades. But never before have ordinary voters leapt to embrace their oppressors quite so openly. The phenomenon can’t even be described as selling out — because selling out implies getting something in return for one’s soul.

A hive of lesser evils

Even if Clinton does not run, her influence permeates the party. “I’ve talked to most of them,” she revealed on ABC’s The View earlier this month, slyly hinting that previous contests’ frontrunners a year before the election had failed to secure the nomination. Instead of Sanders and Gabbard, the Democratic National Committee is propping up Biden and grooming as his second Elizabeth Warren, the neoliberal wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to steal Sanders’ thunder by insisting she’s all he represents plus a pair of X chromosomes. Decked out in borrowed rhetoric and forged identity politics credentials, she earnestly presents herself as a leftist, hoping no one remembers she was registered as a Republican until her 40s.

still more authentic than Hillary

Lest anyone be fooled by Warren’s “radical” act, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently gushed “I know she’s pragmatic, just wait.” Such an endorsement should be a death knell for her progressive support, especially after the revelation that she has been in constant contact with Clinton. Warren emphasizes in communications with donors that she doesn’t actually intend to upend the status quo, and has flip-flopped repeatedly on accepting big-dollar donors and PACs, only rejecting them once she’d stockpiled a healthy war chest from those very donors.

Many of Clinton’s 2016 campaign operatives have chosen California Senator Kamala Harris as their standard-bearer, and Harris exhibits many Clintonesque characteristics. Her enthusiasm for locking up black men for minor drug offenses (she bragged about increasing drug dealers’ conviction rate from 56% to 74% in just three years) — and black women for their truant children (she supported a law that imprisoned mothers if their kids skipped school, then lied about it on the campaign trail) — is worthy of the woman who called black kids “superpredators.” Harris has praised Clinton for “putting our country first” and “serving with distinction” while calling for Trump to be banned from Twitter for his “irresponsible” language.

The other candidates are largely distractions aimed at getting the selection process at the 2020 convention to a second ballot. With voters clamoring for reform after the 2016 disaster, the party obliged by doing away with superdelegates on the first round, but for any round beyond that, they’re fair game — and the DNC refuses to leave the selection up to chance, or anything so small-d democratic as a vote. With a handful of votes thrown to Pete Buttigieg — the anti-Gabbard, a gay pro-war vet — and Beto O’Rourke — the face of privilege whose Spandering caused the cringe heard ‘round the world in the first primary debate — the convention will progress to a second round, and the superdelegates will slither out of their holes to crown their king — or queen.

Status quo defenders

As much as those Democratic establishment stalwarts with presidential ambitions — Clinton and the two dozen-odd candidates determined to dislodge Trump in 2020 — want to get rid of the Bad Orange Man, the benchwarmers in Congress have learned to love him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer can merely rail against Trump instead of actually governing, floating whatever irresponsible fantasy bills they want with the knowledge that they’ll die in the Republican-controlled Senate or — at worst — be vetoed by Trump. House Democrats got the chance to virtue-signal about ending the war in Yemen, helping voters forget Obama had gotten the US involved in the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century, knowing Trump would kill the bill to serve their shared Saudi paymasters. And pearl-clutching about kids in cages on the border (cages built, again, by Obama) while calling for open borders attracts the votes of recent immigrants while ensuring they’ll never have to cash the checks they’re writing.

Michael Moore, once a progressive darling, recently appeared on ‘comedian’ Bill Maher’s program to lambaste his fellow ex-progressive about abandoning his own liberal credentials. Maher complained that the “Squad” — progressive congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — were unpopular, that Medicare for All was less desirable than Obamacare, and that a leftward shift would sink the party. Moore whimpered that if the election was held today, Trump would win, just as he had predicted in 2016. But where was Moore in 2016? Pleading on Democracy Now for Sanders supporters to go to the polls for Clinton, even though “she is to the right of Obama.”

The exchange between the two millionaire entertainers was a disturbing window on the utter alienation of the Democratic Party, insulated by layers of money, from its constituents — and increasingly ex-constituents, as nearly 40 percent of Americans disavow both parties. Maher represents the McCarthyite neoliberal centrism that has taken the mainstream media by storm, in which any flicker of anti-war or pro-working class sentiment is viewed as Russian. And Moore represents the thought-leaders who, despite knowing better, have led the party into its current moral sinkhole, insisting it’s the only pragmatic route.

the tweet heard ‘round the world

Moore knows Clinton is — as Gabbard declared — the Queen of Warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long. He just doesn’t care as long as he gets paid. Moore, like Clinton, took money from casting couch predator Harvey Weinstein despite his predation being an ‘open secret’ in the industry. As late as 2015, he called the molesting mogul “one of the best people to work with in this town” in a tweet he quickly deleted after it was dug up in October 2017 following Moore’s belated decision to speak out against Weinstein’s crimes. Even after the New York Times story in which several actresses first went public with their accusations was published, it took Moore weeks to climb aboard the dump-Weinstein bandwagon, likely out of concern it would hurt his film — Fahrenheit 11/9 — about the Trump presidency. The bottom line — not morality, or even being factually correct — is his chief concern.

In that respect, Moore is the Democratic Party writ large. Caught in a vicious cycle of selling out to wealthy donors to keep the lights on, it has sealed itself off to the working class, the minorities whose voice it still claims a monopoly on, and the young people just now awakening to the fact that they’ve been cheated out of a future. There has been barely any pushback against the DNC’s relentless trudge to the right from the mainstream media and the party establishment. Van Jones appeared on CNN calling out Clinton’s red-baiting of Gabbard, pointing out the smear contained “no facts” and that Gabbard had been the party chairman before she was demonized for backing Sanders in 2016, but the rest of the #Resistance remained silent as Clinton insisted that opposition to war was anti-American. Even the few candidates who defended Gabbard from her slurs did not mention Clinton in their rebuttals. No one dares to oppose the party’s owners.

Until someone does, the Democratic Party is dead. And it’s all but turned Trump into the lesser evil.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/24/2019 - 19:55
Tags
Published:10/24/2019 7:00:16 PM
[Health Care] Rep. Mike Johnson on Conservatives’ New Health Care Plan

It’s been two years since Republicans fell one vote short of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Since then, Democrats have moved further to the left and... Read More

The post Rep. Mike Johnson on Conservatives’ New Health Care Plan appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:10/23/2019 2:46:46 AM
[Politics] Republicans to 'Storm the Beaches' With Health Care Overhaul Conservative Republicans in the House will launch a major strike at Obamacare Tuesday morning by unveiling a new healthcare reform package, Newsmax learned on Monday afternoon."We're going to storm the beaches!" Rep. Mike Johnson, R.-LA,... Published:10/21/2019 9:08:34 PM
[Markets] The US Healthcare System Is Hemorrhaging Close To $1 Trillion A Year The US Healthcare System Is Hemorrhaging Close To $1 Trillion A Year

Authored by Dagny Taggart via The Organic Prepper blog,

The Affordable Care Act continues to be anything but affordable.

In fact, the healthcare system in the US is in terrible financial shape.

new study has revealed that waste and needless spending in America’s healthcare system could amount to almost $1 trillion each year. This exceeds the total US military expenditures in 2019 – the world’s largest defense budget – and as much as all of Medicare and Medicaid combined.

This news should not shock anyone.

If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are in serious debt due to medical expenses, you are likely not surprised by the new study’s findings. As we recently reported, 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies in the US are tied to medical issues, either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills.

Published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the study found that roughly 20 percent to 25 percent of American health care spending is wasteful.

The cumulative waste in US healthcare ranged from $760 billion to $935 annually – or 25 percent of what Americans spend each year on health services. And we spend a lot – approximately 18 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) or more than $10,000 per individual a year on average.

The US healthcare system is bleeding billions of dollars.

For the study, researchers reviewed data from January 2012 to May 2019, with a focus on the 6 waste domains previously identified by the Institute of Medicine and Berwick and Hackbarth.

Computations yielded the following estimated ranges of total annual cost of waste for each domain:

  • failure of care delivery: $102.4 billion to $165.7 billion

  • failure of care coordination: $27.2 billion to $78.2 billion

  • overtreatment or low-value care: $75.7 billion to $101.2 billion

  • pricing failure: $230.7 billion to $240.5 billion

  • fraud and abuse: $58.5 billion to $83.9 billion

  • administrative complexity: $265.6 billion

There have been significant efforts over the years to reduce this waste. Current efforts save $191 billion to $282 billion annually, reducing the net effect of waste to perhaps $478 billion to $744 billion, lead author William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS, told Medscape Medical News.

The study breaks down where those savings occurred:

The estimated annual savings from measures to eliminate waste were as follows: failure of care delivery, $44.4 billion to $93.3 billion; failure of care coordination, $29.6 billion to $38.2 billion; overtreatment or low-value care, $12.8 billion to $28.6 billion; pricing failure, $81.4 billion to $91.2 billion; and fraud and abuse, $22.8 billion to $30.8 billion. (source)

Administrative issues are the largest source of waste.

Administrative complexity, which includes time and resources spent on billing and reporting to insurers and public programs, is the largest source of waste. It is concerning that despite the astronomical costs associated with this domain, the authors found no studies that evaluate approaches to reducing it.

The reason for this may be related to the “complex interplay within these estimates of waste and savings with efforts to combat it,” as Medscape Medical News explains:

Insurers count on prior authorization, for example, to try to rein in overtreatment and what they call low-value care, such as use of expensive drugs when there are cheaper equivalent treatments. Yet prior authorization also contributes to what the authors term “administrative complexity,” the biggest category of wasteful spending identified in their paper, according to Shrank.

“The providers’ administrative complexity represents the payers’ effort to reduce waste,” he told Medscape Medical News. “It’s a perfect example of where the incentives are perfectly misaligned and it creates administrative complexity that just sucks value out of the system.” (source)

Dr. Donald Berwick, CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvementtold CBS News that “There are so many different payers, kinds of coding, billing products, recordkeeping requirements, that when you get a system that complicated it adds tasks and paperwork.”

Indeed, a 2016 study funded by the American Medical Association found that doctors spent almost twice as much time on administrative work (49% of their time) as they did seeing patients (27%). Physicians also took another one to two hours of clerical work home with them each night.

The existing fee-for-service payment system, under which each provider bills for the services they deliver, is another major source of complexity and waste.

“Right now you’re billed for the hospital room, by the ambulance company, by every doctor, rehab facility — everyone is keeping their own records and doing their own billing and dividing it up into tiny pieces, which makes it hard for the patient and hard for the caregivers,” Berwick said. “It has long since outlasted its usefulness.” (source)

The government has a history of making healthcare unaffordable.

Asking the government to repair our broken healthcare system is like asking a fox to guard the henhouse.

Government involvement in healthcare is a major reason it is so expensive. The details are complex and beyond the scope of this piece, but if you would like to learn more about the role government plays in rising healthcare costs, I recommend the following in-depth articles:

How Government Regulations Made Healthcare So Expensive

What Student Loans and Health Care Have in Common

The Real Cost of Medicare for All is in Lives, Not Dollars

This Obamacare Program Was Meant to Save Money, Instead it Killed Thousands

100 Years of Government’s “Managed” Health Care

After reviewing the history of the healthcare system in the US and how the government damaged it beyond repair, it appears there is only one viable solution: removing government from the equation completely. A truly free market system in which healthcare providers and patients make decisions without interference from middlemen (the government and insurance companies) would likely bring costs down to a reasonable level for most Americans.

There are already medical practices like this across the country. They are usually referred to as “concierge care” or “direct primary care (DPC)” practices. Generally speaking, these business models are membership-based, meaning that patients pay an annual or monthly membership fee in exchange for services. A unique feature of these practices is that the patient and doctor get to spend more time together. Some medical practitioners who offer concierge or DPC services take insurance, some do not. Both business models can allow physicians and patients more freedom because approval from a third party (insurance company) is not required for services and treatment.

Many direct primary care practices offer fees on a sliding scale and some offer special rates for low-income families. Others provide charity care.

In Why I Chose Concierge Medicine, Dr. Simon Murray writes that he believes the concierge business model “will save primary care and will ultimately reduce the cost of healthcare in the United States because doctors with more time will refer less, prescribe, test less, and keep people out of the hospital more.”

Another possible solution to our healthcare crisis comes from a surprising source.

Imagine being able to go to one place to get the following healthcare services:

  • Primary care

  • Dental

  • Counseling

  • Labs & x-rays

  • Health screening

  • Optometry

  • Hearing

  • Fitness & nutrition

  • Health insurance education & enrollment

Now, imagine those services were offered at prices ranging from $20 to $40 for office visits and annual exams, $10 to $20 for lab tests, $45 for counseling, $25 for dental exams (including x-rays), $25 for teeth cleanings, and $45 for a vision exam.

While this sounds too good to be true, those are the services and prices offered at a new Walmart Health center in Dallas, Georgia. The huge center (10,000 square feet) opened last month and is currently the only one of its kind. It appears to be a pilot program of sorts, perhaps (hopefully) with the goal of providing affordable basic healthcare to Americans.

Here’s a bit more information from Walmart’s press release:

The Walmart Health center will offer low, transparent pricing for key health services to provide great care at a great value, regardless of insurance coverage. Customers will be notified on the estimated cost of their visit when they book their appointment.

The Walmart Health center will be operated by qualified medical professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, behavioral health providers, and optometrists. Walmart Care Hosts and Community Health Workers onsite will help customers navigate their visit, understand resources and be a familiar presence for regular visits.

Working in partnership with wellness organizations, the Health center will offer specialized community health resources, online education and in-center workshops to educate the community about preventive health and wellness. (source)

Walmart offers Care Clinics in 19 stores, but those facilities are much smaller (1,500 square feet) and are more limited in service.

Love or hate Walmart, the company is finding ways to provide services many people desperately need at prices that are far more affordable than standard options. As Eric Boehm put it in Walmart’s Entry Into Health Care Could Be Hugely Disruptive in All the Best Ways,

A single Walmart health clinic on the outskirts of Atlanta isn’t going to fix any of the big problems with the American health care system. But you’d be foolish to think that the people running one of the world’s most efficient and successful companies aren’t going to come up with better solutions than the men and women trying to get elected. (source)

CVS and Walgreens are also offering outpatient healthcare services through various models and things appear to be going well for both companies so far.

The best way to avoid medical debt is by taking care of yourself.

Accidents are often not preventable, and neither are some health conditions.

But many of the health issues that lead to massive medical debt are preventable, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

A 2014 study published in The Lancet revealed that

…chronic diseases are the main causes of poor health, disability, and death, and account for most of health-care expenditures. The chronic disease burden in the USA largely results from a short list of risk factors—including tobacco use, poor diet and physical inactivity (both strongly associated with obesity), excessive alcohol consumption, uncontrolled high blood pressure, and hyperlipidaemia—that can be effectively addressed for individuals and populations. (source)

If you’d like to improve your health (and hopefully reduce your risk of accruing medical debt), here are some resources that may help.

45 Ways To Add More Physical Activity to Your Day

Quit Smoking program

Bug Out Boot Camp

99 Healthy No-Cook Meals and Snacks

Health Care vs. Death Care: 20 Ways to Stay Well (for Less Money than Obamacare)

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/17/2019 - 17:45
Published:10/17/2019 4:45:33 PM
[Markets] National (In)Security: The Hypersonic Road To Hell National (In)Security: The Hypersonic Road To Hell

Authored by Rajan Menon via TomDispatch.com,

Why Arms Races Never End

Hypersonic weapons close in on their targets at a minimum speed of Mach 5, five times the speed of sound or 3,836.4 miles an hour. They are among the latest entrants in an arms competition that has embroiled the United States for generations, first with the Soviet Union, today with China and Russia. Pentagon officials tout the potential of such weaponry and the largest arms manufacturers are totally gung-ho on the subject. No surprise there. They stand to make staggering sums from building them, especially given the chronic “cost overruns” of such defense contracts -- $163 billion in the far-from-rare case of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Voices within the military-industrial complex -- the Defense Department; mega-defense companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, and Raytheon; hawkish armchair strategists in Washington-based think tanks and universities; and legislators from places that depend on arms production for jobs -- insist that these are must-have weapons. Their refrain: unless we build and deploy them soon we could suffer a devastating attack from Russia and China.  

The opposition to this powerful ensemble’s doomsday logic is, as always, feeble.

The (Il)logic of Arms Races

Hypersonic weapons are just the most recent manifestation of the urge to engage in an “arms race,” even if, as a sports metaphor, it couldn’t be more off base. Take, for instance, a bike or foot race. Each has a beginning, a stipulated distance, and an end, as well as a goal: crossing the finish line ahead of your rivals. In theory, an arms race should at least have a starting point, but in practice, it’s usually remarkably hard to pin down, making for interminable disputes about who really started us down this path. Historians, for instance, are still writing (and arguing) about the roots of the arms race that culminated in World War I. 

The arms version of a sports race lacks a purpose (apart from the perpetuation of a competition fueled by an endless action-reaction sequence). The participants just keep at it, possessed by worst-case thinking, suspicion, and fear, sentiments sustained by bureaucracies whose budgets and political clout often depend on military spending, companies that rake in the big bucks selling the weaponry, and a priesthood of professional threat inflators who merchandise themselves as “security experts.”  

While finish lines (other than the finishing of most life on this planet) are seldom in sight, arms control treaties can, at least, decelerate and muffle the intensity of arms races. But at least so far, they’ve never ended them and they themselves survive only as long as the signatories want them to. Recall President George W. Bush’s scuttling of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Trump administration’s exit from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in August. Similarly, the New START accord, which covered long-range nuclear weapons and was signed by Russia and the United States in 2010, will be up for renewal in 2021 and its future, should Donald Trump be reelected, is uncertain at best. Apart from the fragility built into such treaties, new vistas for arms competition inevitably emerge -- or, more precisely, are created. Hypersonic weapons are just the latest example.

Arms races, though waged in the name of national security, invariably create yet more insecurity. Imagine two adversaries neither of whom knows what new weapon the other will field. So both just keep building new ones. That gets expensive. And such spending only increases the number of threats. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, U.S. military spending has consistently and substantially exceeded China’s and Russia’s combined. But can you name a government that imagines more threats on more fronts than ours? This endless enumeration of new vulnerabilities isn’t a form of paranoia. It’s meant to keep arms races humming and the money flowing into military (and military-industrial) coffers.

One-Dimensional National Security

Such arms races come from the narrow, militarized definition of “national security” that prevails inside the defense and intelligence establishment, as well as in think tanks, universities, and the most influential mass media. Their underlying assumptions are rarely challenged, which only adds to their power. We’re told that we must produce a particular weapon (price tag be damned!), because if we don’t, the enemy will and that will imperil us all.  

Such a view of security is by now so deeply entrenched in Washington -- shared by Republicans and Democrats alike -- that alternatives are invariably derided as naïve or quixotic. As it happens, both of those adjectives would be more appropriate descriptors for the predominant national security paradigm, detached as it is from what really makes most Americans feel insecure.

Consider a few examples.

Unlike in the first three decades after World War II, since 1979 the average U.S. hourly wage, adjusted for inflation, has increased by a pitiful amount, despite substantial increases in worker productivity. Unsurprisingly, those on the higher rungs of the wage ladder (to say nothing of those at the top) have made most of the gains, creating a sharp increase in wage inequality. (If you consider net total household wealth rather than income alone, the share of the top 1% increased from 30% to 39% between 1989 and 2016, while that of the bottom 90% dropped from 33% to 23%.) 

Because of sluggish wage growth many workers find it hard to land jobs that pay enough to cover basic life expenses even when, as now, unemployment is low (3.6% this year compared to 8% in 2013). Meanwhile, millions earning low wages, particularly single mothers who want to work, struggle to find affordable childcare -- not surprising considering that in 10 states and the District of Columbia the annual cost of such care exceeded $10,000 last year; and that, in 28 states, childcare centers charged more than the cost of tuition and fees at four-year public colleges.  

Workers trapped in low-wage jobs are also hard-pressed to cover unanticipated expenses. In 2018, the “median household” banked only $11,700, and households with incomes in the bottom 20% had, on average, only $8,790 in savings; 29% of them, $1,000 or less. (For the wealthiest 1% of households, the median figure was $2.5 million.) Forty-four percent of American families would be unable to cover emergency-related expenses in excess of $400 without borrowing money or selling some of their belongings.

That, in turn, means many Americans can’t adequately cover periods of extended unemployment or illness, even when unemployment benefits are added in. Then there’s the burden of medical bills. The percentage of uninsured adults has risen from 10.9% to 13.7% since 2016 and often your medical insurance is tied to your job -- lose it and you lose your coverage -- not to speak of the high deductibles imposed by many medical insurance policies. (Out-of-pocket medical expenses have, in fact, increased fourfold since 2007 and now average $1,300 a year.)

Or, speaking of insecurity, consider the epidemic in opioid-related fatalities (400,000 people since 1999), or suicides (47,173 in 2017 alone), or murders involving firearms (14,542 in that same year). Child poverty? The U.S. rate was higher than that of 32 of the 36 other economically developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Now ask yourself this: how often do you hear our politicians or pundits use a definition of “national security” that includes any of these daily forms of American insecurity? Admittedly, progressive politicians do speak about the economic pressures millions of Americans face, but never as part of a discussion of national security.

Politicians who portray themselves as “budget hawks” flaunt the label, but their outrage over “irresponsible” or “wasteful” spending seldom extends to a national security budget that currently exceeds $1 trillion. Hawks claim that the country must spend as much as it does because it has a worldwide military presence and a plethora of defense commitments. That presumes, however, that both are essential for American security when sensible and less extravagant alternatives are on offer.  

In that context, let’s return to the “race” for hypersonic weapons.

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Although the foundation for today’s hypersonic weaponry was laid decades ago, the pace of progress has been slow because of daunting technical challenges. Developing materials like composite ceramics capable of withstanding the intense heat to which such weapons will be exposed during flight leads the list. In recent years, though, countries have stepped up their games hoping to deploy hypersonic armaments rapidly, something Russia has already begun to do.

China, Russia, and the United States lead the hypersonic arms race, but others -- including BritainFranceGermanyIndia, and Japan -- have joined in (and more undoubtedly will do so). Each has its own list of dire scenarios against which hypersonic weapons will supposedly protect them and military missions for which they see such armaments as ideal. In other words, a new round in an arms race aimed at Armageddon is already well underway.

There are two variants of hypersonic weapons, which can both be equipped with conventional or nuclear warheads and can also demolish their targets through sheer speed and force of impact, or kinetic energy. “Boost-glide vehicles” (HGVs) are lofted skyward on ballistic missiles or aircraft. Separated from their transporter, they then hurtle through the atmosphere, pulled toward their target by gravity, while picking up momentum along the way. Unlike ballistic missiles, which generally fly most of the way in a parabolic trajectory -- think of an inverted U -- ranging in altitude from nearly 400 to nearly 750 miles high, HGVs stay low, maxing out about 62 miles up. The combination of their hypersonic speed and lower altitude shortens the journey, while theoretically flummoxing radars and defenses designed to track and intercept ballistic missile warheads (which means another kind of arms race still to come). 

By contrast, hypersonic cruise missiles (HCMs) resemble pilotless aircraft, propelled from start to finish by an on-board engine. They are, however, lighter than standard cruise missiles because they use “scramjet” technology.  Rather than carrying liquid oxygen tanks, the missile “breathes” in outside air that passes through it at supersonic speed, its oxygen combining with the missile’s hydrogen fuel. The resulting combustion generates extreme heat, propelling the missile toward its target. HCMs fly even lower than HGVs, below 100,000 feet, which makes identifying and destroying them harder yet. 

Weapons are categorized as hypersonic when they can reach a speed of at least Mach 5, but versions that travel much faster are in the works. A Chinese HGV, launched by the Dong Feng (East Wind) DF-ZF ballistic missile, reportedly registered a speed of up to Mach 10 during tests, which began in 2014. Russia’s Kh-47M2 Kinzhal, or “Dagger,” launched from a bomber or interceptor, can reportedly also reach a speed of Mach 10. Lockheed Martin’s AGM-183A Advanced Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), an HGV that was first test-launched from a B-52 bomber this year, can apparently reach the staggering speed of Mach 20.

And yet it’s not just the speed and flight trajectory of hypersonic weapons that will make them so hard to track and intercept. They can also maneuver as they race toward their targets. Unsurprisingly, efforts to develop defenses against them, using low-orbit sensorsmicrowave technology, and “directed energy” have already begun. The Trump administration’s plans for a new Space Force that will put sensors and interceptors into space cite the threat of hypersonic missiles. Even so, critics have slammed the initiative for being poorly funded.

Putting aside the technical complexities of building defenses against hypersonic weapons, the American decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty and develop missile-defense systems influenced Russia’s decision to develop hypersonic weapons capable of penetrating such defenses. These are meant to ensure that Russia’s nuclear forces will continue to serve as a credible deterrent against a nuclear first strike on that country.

The Trio Takes the Lead

China, Russia, and the United States are, of course, leading the hypersonic race to hell. China tested a medium-range new missile, the DF-17 in late 2017, and used an HGV specifically designed to be launched by it. The following year, that country tested its rocket-launched Xing Kong-2 (Starry Sky-2), a “wave rider,” which gains momentum by surfing the shockwaves it produces. In addition to its Kinzhal, Russia successfully tested the Avangard HGV in 2018. The SS-19 ballistic missile that launched it will eventually be replaced by the R-28 Samrat. Its hypersonic cruise missile, the Tsirkon, designed to be launched from a ship or submarine, has also been tested several times since 2015. Russia’s hypersonic program has had its failures -- so has ours -- but there’s no doubting Moscow’s seriousness about pursuing such weaponry.

Though it’s common to read that both Russia and China are significantly ahead in this arms race, the United States has been no laggard. It’s been interested in such weaponry -- specifically HGVs -- since the early years of this century. The Air Force awarded Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne a contract to develop the hypersonic X-51A WaveRider scramjet in 2004. Its first flight test -- which failed (creating something of a pattern) -- took place in 2010.

Today, the Army, Navy, and Air Force are moving ahead with major hypersonic weapons programs. For instance, the Air Force test-launched its ARRW from a B-52 bomber as part of its Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSWthis June; the Navy tested an HGV in 2017 to further its Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) initiative; and the Army tested its own version of such a weapon in 2011 and 2014 to move its Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) program forward. The depth of the Pentagon’s commitment to hypersonic weapons became evident in 2018 when it decided to combine the Navy’s CPS, the Air Force’s HCSW, and the Army’s AHW to advance the Conventional Prompt Global Strike Program (CPGS), which seeks to build the capability to hit targets worldwide in under 60 minutes.

That’s not all. The Center for Public Integrity’s R. Jeffrey Smith reports that Congress passed a bill last year requiring the United States to have operational hypersonic weapons by late 2022. President’s Trump’s 2020 Pentagon budget request included $2.6 billion to support their development. Smith expects the annual investment to reach $5 billion by the mid-2020s.

That will certainly happen if officials like Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for research and engineering, have their way. Speaking at the McAleese and Credit Suisse Defense Programs conference in March 2018, he listed hypersonic weapons as his “highest technical priority,” adding, “I’m sorry for everybody out there who champions some other high priority... But there has to be a first and hypersonics is my first.” The big defense contractors share his enthusiasm. No wonder last December the National Defense Industrial Association, an outfit that lobbies for defense contractors, played host to Griffin and Patrick Shanahan (then the deputy secretary of defense), for the initial meeting of what it called the “Hypersonic Community of Influence.”

Cassandra Or Pollyanna?

We are, in other words, in a familiar place. Advances in technology have prepared the ground for a new phase of the arms race. Driving it, once again, is fear among the leading powers that their rivals will gain an advantage, this time in hypersonic weapons. What then? In a crisis, a state that gained such an advantage might, they warn, attack an adversary’s nuclear forces, military bases, airfields, warships, missile defenses, and command-and-control networks from great distances with stunning speed.

Such nightmarish scenario-building could simply be dismissed as wild-eyed speculation, but the more states think about, plan, and build weaponry along these lines, the greater the danger that a crisis could spiral into a hypersonic war once such weaponry was widely deployed. Imagine a crisis in the South China Sea in which the United States and China both have functional hypersonic weapons: China sees them as a means of blocking advancing American forces; the United States, as a means to destroy the very hypersonic arms China could use to achieve that objective. Both know this, so the decision of one or the other to fire first could come all too easily. Or, now that the INF Treaty has died, imagine a crisis in Europe involving the United States and Russia after both sides have deployed numerous intermediate-range hypersonic cruise missiles on the continent. 

Some wonks say, in effect, Relax, hi-tech defenses against hypersonic weapons will be built, so crises like these won’t spin out of control. They seem to forget that defensive military innovations inevitably lead to offensive ones designed to negate them. Hypersonic weapons won’t prove to be the exception.

So, in a world of national (in)security, the new arms race is on. Buckle up.

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/09/2019 - 23:05
Tags
Published:10/9/2019 10:25:38 PM
[Markets] The Global Pastime Of Kicking The Can Down The Road The Global Pastime Of Kicking The Can Down The Road

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

Nowhere is the trend of kicking the can down the road more prevalent than in government. Consider this a tribute to politicians and governments everywhere that postpone and delay taking necessary actions. Frequently for politicians, the goal of being reelected takes priority over doing the right thing. This is why  those in office often surrender their better judgment as they go seeking jobs and economic growth at any cost. The idea of paying later for a hamburger today is very seductive for those in this state of mind.

This explains why we constantly see government bargaining with, and making concessions to companies like Amazon to locate facilities in their State. This is done to gain a few jobs with little thought to the long-term consequences. Sometimes it is exempting sales tax, sometimes it is giving the company free utility build-outs, forgiving property taxes, or seeing they are granted special pricing and privileges when it comes to delivering their goods. I use Amazon as an example because it uses all these methods to gain an advantage and exploit its competitors. Sadly, the toll Amazon takes on the brick and mortar stores that line the streets of our cities and neighborhoods is just now becoming apparent.

The sweet allure of getting and receiving the benefits while setting back the negatives is not new or is the desire from which it flows. Getting something for nothing is often the catalyst for bad policy. This is apparent in our healthcare system when it comes to the Affordable Care Act or what is still commonly known as Obamacare. After promises the ACA would lower healthcare costs while extending coverage to millions of Americans the decision was made to phase it in.  In just a few years we have seen healthcare cost soar moving Obamacare towards the brink of failure. As usual, those handed the task of cleaning up such a mess are faced with the unpopular job of making many people unhappy so they do nothing.

When politicians give one company an advantage over another you could say the government has entered the game of choosing winners and losers. States are also lowering the ability of some companies to compete and in the long run can lose more jobs than are created in the short term. In Fort Wayne, Indiana years ago the city backed a bond and the loan to build a massive hangar at the airport for an air-freight company named Kitty Hawk. In return the company promised a slew of new jobs when they located their hub in the city, Kitty Hawk is now bankrupt and the jobs are gone. With the taxpayers of Fort Wayne now paying for an empty hanger that they are trying to lease at an aggressively low price. this means private investors and property owners that lease building space are taking a hit as they are forced to compete against the government to which they are forced to pay taxes. This goes past the issue of fairness and into an area where companies are disincentivized to invest.

National Debt Now Almost 23 Trillion Not 12!

The Devil is in the details when these so-called "pay you later" deals are crafted. When dealing with the Devil we often pay a price far greater than anticipated. It is not uncommon to find promises broken and estimates way off the mark as to the final costSadly, the National Debt Clock is rapidly moving towards the 23 trillion dollar mark. The chart to the right predicted that by 2019 the national debt would top 12 trillion dollars, boy they really missed that one! Projections made by the government or any group predicting budgets based on events that may or may not happen at some future date are simply predictions and not fact. This means that such numbers are totally unreliable.

Another place the effort to obtain a free lunch or at least to get a big discount on it can be seen in the explosion of Public-private partnerships. Over the years we have been hearing a lot of good things about "Public-Private Partnerships" and how they can propel forward needed projects by adding an incentive for the private sector to undertake projects they might choose not to do alone. Often this is because the numbers often simply don't work. These collaborations between government and a private-sector company while touted as our salvation tend to create boondoggles and white elephants.

These projects are often haunted by problems that go from one extreme to another ranging from over-engineering to shoddy work with little oversight. Risks are frequently distributed between the public and private partners according to the ability of each to assess, control and cope with them. The risk-sharing may be in the form of "guaranteeing" a certain occupancy such as was the case of a hotel recently constructed where I live, or the government may pick up part of the cost of the project by providing low-cost loans or supplying part of the infrastructure needed for the project to proceed.

Expensive studies paid for by the government to determine whether a project is viable or needed by a community is often the first step down this slippery slope. Public officials constantly promote and undertake glorious and unsustainable projects to better their communities at little or no cost. This can be seen in situations where the public partner agrees to guarantee a minimum occupancy or income if it turns out that there are fewer users or demand for the service or infrastructure than expected. Fortunately for the public officials involved it generally takes years before anyone notices how toxic many of these projects are and voters seldom are focused enough to hold them accountable.

The lesson is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Delaying payment should be viewed as sidestepping reality rather than a solution. Short-sighted attempts to sidestep real structural failures and problems are usually doomed to fail. Real problems must be addressed with real solutions not just promises of future action or put off until a later date. Not taking the proper steps to set things right often causes more problems down the road.

Winston Churchill said, "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences."

My point is that sooner or later the piper always demands his due. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/09/2019 - 12:45
Published:10/9/2019 11:53:03 AM
[Markets] One 'Deplorable' Takes A Stand: "They've Gone Too Far!" One 'Deplorable' Takes A Stand: "They've Gone Too Far!"

Authored by 'sundance' via TheConservativeTreehouse.com,

Stand...

They’ve gone too far. “Donald Trump’s supporters are racist“, or “uneducated”, or “unenlightened”, or (fill_In_The_Blank).  This hate-filled sentiment is clear within the latest corrupt and targeted impeachment attack against the office of the President.

Now the media narrative controllers are fully engaged, gleeful with impeachment blood-lust amid their broadcast brethren.  The raw political corruption is now extreme.

Do not look away.

As we bear witness, anyone trying to convince us this entire assembly of our union is headed in the right direction, well, they might want to revisit their proximity to the 2020 election ballpark. Because they’re not just out of the city – they’re also out of the same state the election ballpark is located in….. Then again, the media know that.

David Mamet had a famous saying, essentially: …‘in order for democrats, liberals, progressives et al to continue their illogical belief systems they have to pretend not to know a lot of things’… By pretending ‘not to know’ there is no guilt, no actual connection to conscience. Denial of truth allows easier trespass.

This hate-filled Democrat ideology relies on our willingness to accept their lies, falsehoods, and scripted presentations; and then demands we grant benefit amid their seeds of doubt.

There’s a level of anger far deeper and more consequential than expressed rage or visible behavior, it’s called Cold Anger.

Cold Anger does not need to go to violence. For those who carry it, no conversation is needed when we meet. You cannot poll or measure it; specifically because most who carry it avoid discussion… And that decision has nothing whatsoever to do with any form of correctness.

We watched the passage of Obamacare at 1:38am on the day before Christmas Eve in 2009. We watched the Senate, then the House attempt passing Amnesty in 2014. We know exactly how it passed, and we know exactly why it passed. We don’t need to stand around talking about it….

We know what lies hidden behind “cloture” and the UniParty schemes.

We watched the 2009 $900+ billion Stimulus Bill being spent each year, every year, for seven consecutive years. Omnibus, Porkulous, QE1, QE2, Bailouts, Crony-Capitalism. We know exactly how this works, and we know exactly why this ruse is maintained. We don’t need to stand around talking about it…. We’re beyond talking.

We accept that the entire Senate voted to block President Trump’s ability to use recess appointments in 2017, and 2018, and 2019. Every.Single.Democrat.And.Republican.

Cold Anger absorbs betrayal silently, often prudently.

We’ve waited each year, every year, for ten years, to see a federal budget, only to be given another Omnibus spending bill by “CONservative” politicians.

We’ve watched the ridiculing of cops, the riots, and the lack of support for laws, or their enforcement. We’ve been absorbing all that. We’ve been exposed to violence upon us by paid operatives of the organized DNC machine. We know; the media trying to hide it doesn’t change our level of information.

Cold Anger is not hatred, it is far more purposeful.

We watched in 2012 as the Democrat party thrice denied God during their convention. The doors to evil enterprise opened by official proclamation and request.

Cold Anger takes notice of the liars, even from a great distance – seemingly invisible to the mob. Cold Anger will still hold open the door for the riot goer. Mannerly.

We’ve watched our borders being intentionally unsecured.

We’ve watched Islamic Terrorists slaughter Americans as our politicians proclaim their uncertainty of motive. We know exactly who they are, and why they are doing it. We do not need to stand around discussing it…. we’re clear eyed.

Cold Anger evidenced is more severe because it is more strategic, and more purposeful. Eric Cantor’s defeat, Matt Bevin’s victory, Brexit, Donald Trump’s highest vote tally in the history of presidential primaries or President Trump’s victory might aide your  understanding.

Cold Anger does not gloat; it absorbs consistent vilification and ridicule as fuel. This sensibility does not want to exist, it is forced to exist in otherwise unwilling hosts – we also refuse to be destabilized by it.

Transgender bathrooms are more important than border security.

Illicit trade schemes, employment and the standard of living in Vietnam and Southeast Asia are more important to Wall Street and DC lobbyists, than the financial security of Youngstown Ohio.

We get it. We understand. We didn’t create that reality, we are simply responding to it.

The intelligence apparatus of our nation was weaponized against our candidate by those who controlled the levers of government. Now, with sanctimonious declarations they dismiss accountability.

Deliberate intent and prudence ensures we avoid failure. The course, is thoughtful vigilance; it is a strategy devoid of emotion. The media can call us anything they want, it really doesn’t matter…. we’re far beyond the place where labels matter.

Foolishness and betrayal of our nation have served to reveal dangers within our present condition. Misplaced corrective action, regardless of intent, is neither safe nor wise. We know exactly who Donald Trump is, and we also know what he is not. He is exactly what we need at this moment. He is a necessary glorious bastard.

He is our weapon.

Cold Anger is not driven to act in spite of itself; it drives a reckoning.

When the well attired leave the checkout line carrying steaks and shrimp using an EBT card, the door is still held open; yet notations necessarily embed.

When the U.S. flags lay gleefully undefended, they do not lay unnoticed. When the stars and stripes are controversial, yet a foreign flag is honored – we are paying attention.

When millionaire football players kneel down rather than honor our fallen soldiers and stand proud of our country, we see that. Check the NFL TV ratings – take note.

When a school community cannot openly pray, it does not mean the prayerful were absent.

When a liar seems to win, it is not without observation. Many – more than the minority would like to admit – know the difference between science, clocks and political agendas.

Cold Anger perceives deception the way the long-term battered absorb a blow in the hours prior to the pre-planned exit; with purpose.

A shield, or cry of micro-aggression will provide no benefit, nor quarter. Delicate sensibilities are dispatched like a feather in a hurricane.

We are patient, but also purposeful. Pushed far enough, decisions are reached.

[…] On the drive to and from the East Coast, I paid attention to the billboards and bumper-stickers. Folks, the people in “Fly over” country are PISSED, from the guy that guides hunters, to the mayors of towns and cities, to state senators congressmen and Governors who are voting to arrest and imprison federal law enforcement officials for enforcing federal gun laws that don’t agree with state law … The political pendulum has never, in the history of humanity, stayed on one side of a swing. The back lash from over reach has always been proportionate to how far off center it went before coming back … right now we’re staring at a whole hell of a lot of the country (about 80-90% of the land mass, as well as about 50+% of the population) that is FED UP. You really don’t want those guys to decide that the only way to fix it is to burn it down and start over… (more)

It’s too late…

This man has faced opposition that would overwhelm any other President.  Our chosen President is constantly attacked by those holding a corrupt, conniving and Godless leftist ideology.  It is our job now to stand with him, firm on his behalf.

To respond we must engage as an insurgency. We must modify our disposition to think like an insurgent. Insurgencies have nothing to lose. If insurgents are not victorious the system, which controls the dynamic, wins. However, if insurgents do nothing, the same system, which controls the dynamic, also wins.

Do nothing and we lose. Go to the mattresses, and we might win. The choice is ours.

Right now, through November 2020, every day is Saint Crispins day.

If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

The awakened American middle-class insurgency, led by Donald Trump, is an existential threat to the professional political class and every entity who lives in/around the professional political class. Their entire political apparatus is threatened by our insurgency. The political industry, all of corrupt governance, is threatened by our support through Donald Trump.

Decision time.

You know why the entire apparatus is united against President Trump. You know why the corrupt Wall Street financial apparatus is united against President Trump. You know why every institutional department, every lobbyist, every K-Street dweller, every career legislative member, staffer, and the various downstream economic benefactors, including the corporate media, all of it – all the above, are united against Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is an existential threat to the existence of a corrupt DC system we have exposed to his disinfecting sunlight. Donald Trump is the existential threat to every entity who benefits from that corrupt and vile system.

Global elites now stand with jaw-agape in horror as they witness the result.  The value of multi-billion dollar contracts dispatched at our leisure. Trillion dollar multi-national trade deals, full of scheme and graft, left nothing more than tenuous propositions smashed asunder from the mere sound of our approach.

The fundamental construct within decades of their united global efforts to tear at the very fabric of our U.S.A is being eliminated. They too have nothing to lose; their desperation becomes visible within their apoplexy; and they’re damn sure displaying it.

Do not look away.

Throw aside the sense of discomfort and bear witness to the evil we oppose. Do not turn your eyes from the hatred focused in our direction. Stand firm amid the solace of our number and resolve to the task at hand.

Those who oppose our efforts are merely vile parasites quivering as they stare into the Cold Anger furnace of righteousness.

Who fuels that furnace?

…..US !

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/03/2019 - 16:45
Published:10/3/2019 3:48:41 PM
[Issues] Obama-era Scheme Illegally Paid $227 Million to State As A Result of Miscalculations

The federal government incorrectly paid states hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to expand health care coverage before Obamacare's implementation.

The post Obama-era Scheme Illegally Paid $227 Million to State As A Result of Miscalculations appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:9/25/2019 4:31:02 AM
[Uncategorized] Video: Top three Obamacare promises, RIP

Behold, the death of three core Obamacare promises, in 74 seconds, using Democrats’ words only.  The trifecta:

The post Video: Top three Obamacare promises, RIP appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/21/2019 1:03:35 AM
[Markets] Medical Debt Is Crushing Many Americans. Is The Health Care System On The Verge Of Collapse? Medical Debt Is Crushing Many Americans. Is The Health Care System On The Verge Of Collapse?

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

Health care expenses are a massive burden for many Americans, and for some, they can be financially devastating.

A new report from Kaiser Health News revealed some shocking examples of just how bad things can get for some people.

‘UVA Has Ruined Us’: Health System Sues Thousands Of Patients, Seizing Paychecks And Claiming Homes covers the cases of individuals who are dealing with serious financial hardship due to the University of Virginia Health System’s aggressive collection practices.

The article begins with the story of Heather Waldron, who required emergency surgery in 2017. She believed she had insurance at the time – it wasn’t until after her hospitalization that she learned a computer error involving the HealthCare.gov website caused a lapse in her coverage.

The UVA health system slapped Waldron with a lawsuit and a lien on her home to recoup the $164,000 in charges, leading to serious financial hardship for her family:

She is now on food stamps and talking to bankruptcy lawyers. A bank began foreclosure proceedings in August on the Blacksburg house she shared with her family. The home will be sold to pay off the mortgage.

She expects UVA to take whatever is left.

The $164,000 billed to Heather Waldron for intestinal surgery was more than twice what a commercial insurer would have paid for her care, according to benefits firm WellRithms, which analyzed bills for Kaiser Health News using cost reports UVA files with the government. Charges on her bill included $2,000 for a $20 feeding tube. (source)

Waldron is not alone. There are many stories similar to hers – and some are much worse.

The UVA Health System aggressively pursued patients for medical bills for years.

The Kaiser Health News (KHN) analysis found that during a six-year period ending in June 2018, “the UVA health system and its doctors filed 36,000 lawsuits against patients seeking a total of more than $106 million, seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy.”

People who have received treatment in the UVA system are facing a particularly formidable opponent. “UVA stands out for the scope of its collection efforts and how persistently it seeks payment, pursuing poor as well as middle-class patients for almost all they’re worth,” the KHN report explains. Court records, documents, and interviews with hospital officials and dozens of patients revealed that UVA has sued people for as much as $1 million and as little as $13.91.

The system has garnished thousands of paychecks, seized $22 million over six years in state tax refunds owed to people with outstanding bills, sued about 100 patients every year who were their own system’s employees, filed thousands of property liens, and hit some patients with legal fees and interest that added up to more than the original bill. UVA has the most restrictive eligibility guidelines for financial assistance of any hospital system in Virginia. “Savings of only $4,000 in a retirement account can disqualify a family from aid, even if its income is barely above the poverty level,” KHN reports.

UVA Health System spokesman Eric Swensen told KHN that UVA gave $322 million in financial assistance and charity care in fiscal 2018. But legal and finance experts said that’s not a reliable estimate:

The $322 million “merely indicates the amount they would have charged arbitrarily” before negotiated insurer discounts, said Ge Bai, an accounting and health policy associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

The figure is “based on customary reporting standards used by hospitals across the U.S.,” Swensen said.

Insurers would have paid UVA only $88 million for that care, according to an accounting of unpaid bills presented in September 2018 to the UVA Health board. Even that unpaid figure did not come out of UVA’s purse since federal and state governments provided “funding earmarked to cover indigent care” for almost all of it — $83.7 million, according to Bai.

The real, “unfunded” cost of UVA indigent care: $4.3 million, or 1.3% of what it claims, according to the document.

“That’s nothing,” given how much money UVA makes, Bai said. “Nonprofit hospitals advance their charitable mission primarily through providing indigent care.” (source)

Perhaps the most surprising detail about the UVA Health System is that it is not a for-profit system and does not have shareholders making demands. It is funded with taxpayer and state money (also taxpayer money, of course):

Like other nonprofit hospitals, it pays no federal, state or local taxes on the presumption it offers charity care and other community benefits worth at least as much as those breaks. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, oversees its board.

UVA Medical Center, the flagship of UVA Health System, earned $554 million in profit over the six years ending in June 2018 and holds stocks, bonds and other investments worth $1 billion, according to financial statements. CEO Sutton-Wallace earns a salary of $750,000, with bonus incentives that could push her annual pay close to $1 million, according to a copy of her employment contract, obtained under public information law. (source)

Other hospitals in the US are suing patients too.

Recently, journalists and academics have exposed hospital collections practices in BaltimoreMemphisNew Mexico, North CarolinaNebraska, and Ohio. In 2014, NPR and ProPublica published stories about a hospital in Missouri that sued 6,000 patients over a four-year period.

NPR recently reported on collection practices at Mary Washington, another Virginia hospital. According to their report, Mary Washington sues so many patients that the court reserves a morning every month for its cases.

Since KHN and NPR exposed the collection practices at the two Virginia hospitals, both have stated they are going to change their ways.

“Gov. Ralph Northam and the president of the University of Virginia committed to changing UVA Health System’s collections practices a day after Kaiser Health News detailed its aggressive and widespread pursuit of former patients for unpaid medical bills,” KHN reported.

NPR added an Editor’s note to its June 25 article about Mary Washington that states:

The day after this story published, Mary Washington Healthcare announced it will suspend its practice of suing patients for unpaid bills, stating: “We are committed to a complete re-evaluation of our entire payment process to ensure that all patients know they have access to care.” When asked what they will do about any patient whose wages are currently being garnished, Eric Fletcher, Mary Washington’s senior vice president, said in a statement to NPR: “We are happy to try to work with that patient and the courts and their employer to try to eliminate the garnishment.” (source)

According to a study published in the American Medical Association’s journal, JAMA in June, an estimated 20% of US consumers had medical debt in collections in 2014. Medical debt has been increasing with direct patient billing, rising insurance deductibles, and more out-of-network care being delivered, even at in-network facilities.

For the JAMA study, researchers looked at Virginia court records from 2017 and found that in the state, 36% of hospitals sued patients and garnished their wages in 2017. They identified 20,054 warrant-in-debt lawsuits and 9232 garnishment cases. Garnishments were MORE common in non-profit hospitals (71%).

“If you’re a nonprofit hospital and you have this mission to serve your community, [lawsuits] should really be an absolute last resort,” says Jenifer Bosco, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, told NPR:

Bosco explains that IRS rules require nonprofit hospitals to have financial assistance programs and prohibit them from taking “extraordinary collection actions” on unpaid medical bills without first attempting to determine patients’ eligibility for financial assistance.

Nonprofit hospitals, Bosco says, “have to provide some sort of financial help for lower-income people, but the federal rules don’t say how much help, and they don’t say how poor you have to be to qualify [or] if you have to be insured or uninsured.” (source)

“Hospitals were built — mostly by churches — to be a safe haven for people regardless of one’s race, creed or ability to pay. Hospitals have a nonprofit status — most of them — for a reason. They’re supposed to be community institutions,” Dr. Martin Makary, one of the JAMA study’s authors and a surgeon and researcher at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told NPR.

Unpaid hospital bills are a leading cause of personal debt and bankruptcy in the US.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health earlier this year, 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies in the US are tied to medical issues, either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills, the researchers found.

The study, titled Medical Bankruptcy: Still Common Despite the Affordable Care Act, states, “Despite gains in coverage and access to care from the ACA, our findings suggest that it did not change the proportion of bankruptcies with medical causes.”

Prior to the ACA’s implementation in 2014, 65.5 percent of debtors reported medical reasons for filing bankruptcy. After the Act was implemented, 67.5 percent cited medical expenses as their reason. In 2007, an estimated 62.1 percent cited medical bills as contributors to their bankruptcy, and 40.3% cited income loss due to illness.

Other studies have found that at least 25 percent and as many as 50 percent of bankruptcies include significant medical debt, according to a recent report from The Balance.

One study found that the insured were a bit more likely to declare bankruptcy (3 percent) than the uninsured (1 percent), The Balance reports:

Most probably thought their insurance protected them from medical costs. They weren’t prepared to pay for unexpected deductible and coinsurance costs. Almost a third weren’t aware that a particular hospital or service wasn’t part of their plan. One-in-four found that the insurance denied their claims.

How did those with insurance wind up with so many bills? After high deductibles, co-insurance payments, and annual/lifetime limits, the insurance ran out. Other companies denied claims or just canceled the insurance. (source)

According to GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon, one-third of the donations made through the site help people pay for medical care. Roughly 250,000 campaigns for assistance with medical bills and healthcare costs are set up on the crowdfunding site annually, raising total contributions of $650 million per year.

Millions of Americans are struggling to pay healthcare-related costs.

Even Americans who have insurance coverage are struggling to afford medical bills. As the research shows, health insurance won’t completely protect you. Many people have been bankrupted by high deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. This is why you should try to have at least the amount of your deductible in savings.

Rising healthcare costs have serious implications for many Americans. According to a recent report from The Balance, many people cannot afford groceries, rent, and clothing due to medical costs. Many have burned through their savings, and others have taken on extra work to pay medical bills. Some cut back on or skip prescription medications and follow-up care, and many rack up credit card debt and use loans to pay for healthcare expenses.

Here are some more troubling facts from The Balance report:

In 2015, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that there were 1 million adults who declared medical bankruptcy. That is more than those going bankrupt for unpaid credit card debt or mortgage defaults. A 2013 Nerdwallet study found that almost 30 percent maxed out their credit cards, while 8 percent were forced into bankruptcy because the illness cost them their jobs.

Even more disturbing was that 78 percent of them had health insurance that failed to cover all their bills. Sixty percent were let down by private insurance, not Medicare or Medicaid. Ten million of them will incur medical costs they can’t pay off each year, thanks to high-deductible plans.

How did those with insurance wind up with so many bills? Before the ACA, many were sunk by annual and lifetime limits. Others were stuck when insurance companies denied claims or just canceled the policy once they got sick.

But even after Obamacare, many weren’t prepared for high deductibles and co-insurance payments. In 2017, 31 percent of the insured found it difficult to afford copays. That’s up from 24 percent in 2015, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. Similarly, 43 percent found deductibles too high, compared to 34 percent in 2015. (source)

What are the causes of rising health care costs?

A recent report from The Balance answered this question. Here are some shocking statistics from that report:

In 2017, U.S. health care costs were $3.5 trillion. That makes health care one of the country’s largest industries. It equals 17.9 percent of gross domestic product. In comparison, health care cost $27.2 billion in 1960, just 5 percent of GDP. That translates to an annual health care cost of $10,739 per person in 2017 versus just $146 per person in 1960. Health care costs have risen faster than the average annual income. (source)

There are two causes of this massive increase – government policy and lifestyle changes, the report goes on to explain:

First, the United States relies on company-sponsored private health insurance. The government created programs like Medicare and Medicaid to help those without insurance. These programs spurred demand for health care services. That gave providers the ability to raise prices. A Princeton University study found that Americans use the same amount of health care as residents of other nations. They just pay more for them. For example, U.S. hospital prices are 60 percent higher than those in Europe. Government efforts to reform health care and cut costs raised them instead.

Second, chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, have increased. They are responsible for 85 percent of health care costs. Almost half of all Americans have at least one of them. They are expensive and difficult to treat. As a result, the sickest 5 percent of the population consume 50 percent of total health care costs. The healthiest 50 percent only consume 3 percent of the nation’s health care costs. Most of these patients are Medicare patients. The U.S. medical profession does a heroic job of saving lives. But it comes at a cost. Medicare spending for patients in the last year of life is six times greater than the average. Care for these patients costs one-fourth of the Medicare budget. In their last six months of life, these patients go to the doctor’s office 29 times on average. In their last month of life, half go to the emergency room. One-third wind up in the intensive care unit. One fifth undergo surgery. (source)

The best way to avoid medical debt is by taking care of yourself.

Accidents are often not preventable, and neither are some health conditions.

But many of the health issues that lead to massive medical debt are preventable, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

A 2014 study published in The Lancet revealed that

…chronic diseases are the main causes of poor health, disability, and death, and account for most of health-care expenditures. The chronic disease burden in the USA largely results from a short list of risk factors—including tobacco use, poor diet and physical inactivity (both strongly associated with obesity), excessive alcohol consumption, uncontrolled high blood pressure, and hyperlipidaemia—that can be effectively addressed for individuals and populations. (source)

If you’d like to improve your health (and hopefully reduce your risk of accruing medical debt), here are some resources that may help.

45 Ways To Add More Physical Activity to Your Day

Quit Smoking program

Bug Out Boot Camp

99 Healthy No-Cook Meals and Snacks

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/12/2019 - 18:25
Published:9/12/2019 5:38:35 PM
[Health Care] Obamacare Caused Premiums to Spike. Here’s How States Are Lowering Them Again.

Throughout much of last year, critics of the White House darkly warned that “Trump sabotage” of Obamacare would result in steep increases in premiums for... Read More

The post Obamacare Caused Premiums to Spike. Here’s How States Are Lowering Them Again. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/10/2019 12:31:11 PM
[Markets] Trump SCOTUS Pick Neil Gorsuch Says US Is In "Civility Crisis" Trump SCOTUS Pick Neil Gorsuch Says US Is In "Civility Crisis"

In his first book since being appointed to the Supreme Court to fill the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia, Neil Gorsuch writes that the US is facing a "civility crisis" and that the president and Congress are both guilty of violating the separation of powers laid out in the Constitution.

The book, "A Republic, If You Can Keep It", has a title that reflects Benjamin Franklin's reported reply as he left the Constitutional Convention in 1787. In it, Gorsuch describes his vision for the Supreme Court's proper role: That judges should interpret the constitution according to its original meaning, and therefor overturn ObamaCare, slash abortion rights and bolster gun rights, according to Bloomberg.

Gorsuch also describes the run-up to his nomination. For example, he and his wife caught their flight to Washington after a neighbor drove them down a bumpy farm track so they wouldn't be spotted by reporters staking out the family house in Colorado.

The Justice said the drive left a lasting impression on him.

"That drive threw me face first into the topsy-turvy world of modern-day Supreme Court confirmation battles," Gorsuch writes in the 323-page book, officially released Tuesday. He was confirmed on a 54-45 vote, with only three Democrats voting in favor.

Notably, Gorsuch's book makes only passing reference to President Trump, even though the president is often blamed for "coarsening" the public discourse.

But he does point to surveys showing that "incivility" is broadly deterring Americans from dedicating themselves to public service.

"Without civility, the bonds of friendship in our communities dissolve, tolerance dissipates, and the pressure to impose order and uniformity through public and private coercion mounts," Gorsuch, 52, writes.

Gorsuch also lamented the fact that the executive branch and legislative branch had grown beyond their proper spheres.

"The framers firmly believed that the rule of law depends on keeping all three governmental powers in their proper spheres," Gorsuch writes.

Gorsuch also complains about more "niche" issues, like the rising cost and complexity of the US legal system.

"Our civil justice system is too expensive for most to afford; our criminal code is too long for most to comprehend; and our legal education system is too monolithic to allow lawyers to serve clients as affordably and well as we might," he writes.

The rest of the book, which was co-authored by two of the justice's former law clerks, is a compilation of the Justice's speeches and court opinions. But the book also includes newly written original sections.

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/10/2019 - 05:47
Published:9/10/2019 5:02:32 AM
[World] Addressing unexpected medical bills

Closing in on a decade since the passage of the grand health care reform better known as Obamacare, lawmakers are under increasing pressure to deal with both issues it created, and others that it merely exacerbated. One of the latter that has been quickly gaining attention, for good reason, is ... Published:9/4/2019 2:19:38 PM

[Politics] Biden Touts Obamacare in New Ad Former Vice President Joe Biden defends Obamacare in a new minute-long ad in Iowa, The Hill is reporting. Published:8/27/2019 10:00:09 AM
[Politics] Dem Complains About Her Taxpayer-Subsidized Obamacare Plan

A congressional Democrat is unhappy with the taxpayer-subsidized health insurance she receives from Obamacare.

The post Dem Complains About Her Taxpayer-Subsidized Obamacare Plan appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/26/2019 5:27:36 PM
[Politics] Column: Trump is proposing to reduce the employer health insurance system to utter chaos

Trump's position on the notorious Texas-led attack on Obamacare would be disastrous for employer-sponsored health plans

Published:8/23/2019 12:36:47 PM
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