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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Moe Lauzier’s

Issues of the Day

How long before Obama rides off into the sunset? Click below…

Charlie V writes:
I wish I was creative enough to come up with something like this...but it was actually forwarded by a former work associate....and I think it's worth sharing.  

To All My Liberal Friends:    Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.  I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2015, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To My Conservative Friends:  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Just thinking…. 60 days until Spring Training. See there, winter’s over already.

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. The president claimed an array of successes in 2014, citing lower unemployment, a rising number of Americans covered by health insurance, and an historic diplomatic opening with Cuba. He also touts his own executive action and a Chinese agreement to combat global warming. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Obama: Hollywood weak, Boston strong

By Dave Boyer - The Washington Times
President Obama said Friday that the U.S. will retaliate against North Korea for its cyberattack against Sony Pictures, and he thinks the movie studio  “made a mistake” by canceling the release of a movie in response to the hacking.

“They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond,” Mr. Obama said of the North Koreans at a White House news conference. “We will respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.”

Mr. Obama also said he disagreed with the studio’s move to cancel the release of the flick.

“I wish they’d spoken to me first,” Mr. Obama said. “I’d told them do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of attacks.”

Mr. Obama compared the situation to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and said America doesn’t give in to terrorism.

“We can’t start changing our patterns of behavior any more than we stop going to a football game because there might be the possibility of a terrorist attack; any more than Boston didn’t run its marathon this year because of the possibility that somebody might try to cause harm,” he said.

The president said he is “sympathetic” to Sony’s concerns about the potential threat to its employees and the damage inflicted.

“It suffered significant damage,” Mr. Obama said. “Having said all that, yes I think they made a mistake. We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”

Asked if the U.S. believes that another country such as China was involved in the hacking, the president said “we have no indication” that any other nation participated in the attack.

CLT News Release
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Contact: Barbara Anderson — 781-639-0096
First let me say, Merry Christmas.  Next let me say, no, state government, you can’t have a fossil fuel tax in your stocking, under your tree, or up your reindeer.
According to today’s Boston Globe, “Fossil fuel tax backed in report for Mass.”, the state Department of Energy has just released a recommendation for a “carbon tax” on Massachusetts consumers.
Here is what I’d like for Christmas from my state government.
1.      The income tax rate dropped to 5%, as promised when that “temporary” tax hike was passed in 1989, as demanded by voters in 2000, as “frozen” by the Legislature in 2002, as dribbled down to us by five one-hundredth of 1 percent occasionally, since then.
2.      The “property tax relief” that Deval Patrick promised when he first ran for governor.
3.   Something resembling management.
4.  The answer to this question: on what planet do the people who release these reports live?  First, as the budget deficit grows, we get the recommendation for pay hikes on constitutional officers and unconstitutional pay hikes on legislators, which we hope has been laughed off the table by now.

Next, we get a recommendation for a multibillion-dollar “carbon tax” on all fossil fuels used by consumers in the northeastern corner of the nation? The week before Christmas?
This is not going to happen.  And yet, they recommend it – seriously. AND assure us that the carbon tax will be offset by tax cuts or “some rebate” to consumers to make the new “carbon charge” revenue neutral. Do they really think we are that stupid? (see broken promises, above). Wait —  did MIT Prof. Gruber author this report?
Did they miss the recent repeal by voters of the automatic gas tax?  The election of a governor who promised not to raise taxes? The list of Massachusetts citizens needing fuel assistance and visiting food pantries? Who out here is overheating our homes — as the price of natural gas rises — that you need to punish?
Here’s an assignment for enterprising reporters: check out the people who write these reports, sucking up the government money for the latest government fad crisis. I’ll bet you’ll find them in cozy warm houses, perhaps sitting in front of  wood-burning (for ambiance) fireplaces composing warnings of a coming ice age/global warming/climate change/whatever from which they can profit.
Just to be climate-change politically-incorrect: may they get a lump of fossil fuel in their “holiday” stockings.

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2014 file photo, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks in Washington. Two prominent Senate Republicans announced Tuesday they would seek a second term in the Senate, although their announcements had dramatically different implications for the 2016 presidential contest. Paul announced he would also seek a second term in the Senate, although his team says he could still run for president despite a state law that prohibits running for both offices at the same time.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)Rand Paul trolls Marco Rubio on Twitter as Cuba feud turns nasty

By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times
Sen. Rand Paul took a shot at his colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio, on Twitter, slamming the Florida Republican for an isolationist view on Cuba.

“Senator @marcorubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism,” Mr. Paul tweeted.

The two senators have traded a couple of barbs over differing views of President Obama’s announced intent to normalize relations with Cuba. Mr. Rubio opposes the diplomatic outreach; Mr. Paul supports it.

But after Mr. Paul came out in public support of smoothed relations, Mr. Rubio slammed his Kentucky colleague as having “no idea what he’s talking about,” various media reported.

Mr. Paul then hit back, tweeting: “Hey @marcorubio if the embargo doesn’t hurt Cuba, why do you want to keep it?”

He also called Mr. Rubio an “isolationist” in a separate Twitter message, and later tweeted: “The United States trades and engages with other communist nations, such as China and Vietnam. So @marcorubio why not Cuba?”

But Mr. Paul didn’t end there. He also took to his Facebook page to criticize his Florida colleague.

He wrote, Talking Points Memo found: “Senator Marco Rubio believes the embargo against Cuba has been ineffective, yet wants to continue perpetuating failed policies. After 50 years of conflict, why not try a new approach? The United States trades and engages with other communist nations, such as China and Vietnam. Why not Cuba? I am a proponent of peace through commerce and I believe engaging Cuba can lead to positive change.”

He also put on his Facebook post similar hits that he tweeted: “Seems to me, Senator Rubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism. Finally, let’s be clear that Senator Rubio does not speak for the majority of Cuban-Americans. A recent poll demonstrates that a large majority of Cuban-Americans actually support normalizing relations between our countries.”

Despite Job Growth, Native Employment Still Below 2007

Latest gov't data: All net employment growth went to immigrants

President Obama recently announced plans to give legal status and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants. The U.S. continues to admit over one million permanent legal immigrants a year, and many members of Congress and the president continue to support efforts to increase immigration further.

Yet data publicly available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website shows that as of last month, there are still 1.5 million fewer native-born Americans working than in November 2007, and the number of natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) continues to increase. In contrast, two million more immigrants (legal and illegal) are working.

"It is truly remarkable that since the 2007 recession, what net employment gains there have been went entirely to immigrants, while the number of native-born Americans working remains well below 2007 levels," said Steven Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies Director of Research and author of a CIS report presenting the BLS data. "This raises the question of whether it makes sense to continue to admit so many legal immigrants as well as to allow most illegal immigrants to stay."

The CIS report is at

All the data for the report can be retrieved by anyone with an internet connection, from Table A-7 at the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site:
Additional findings:
• The BLS reports that 23.1 million adult (16-plus) immigrants (legal and illegal) were working in November 2007 and 25.1 million were working in November of this year — a two million increase. For natives, 124.01 million were working in November 2007 compared to 122.56 million in November 2014 — a 1.46 million decrease.
• Thus BLS data indicates that what employment growth there has been since 2007 has all gone to immigrants, even though natives accounted for 69 percent of the growth in the +16 population.
• The number of immigrants working returned to pre-recession levels by the middle of 2012, and has continued to climb. But the number of natives working remains almost 1.5 million below the November 2007 level.
• However, even as job growth has increased in the last two years (November 2012 to November 2014), 45 percent of employment growth has still gone to immigrants, though they comprise only 17 percent of the labor force.
• The number of natives officially unemployed (looking for work in the prior four weeks) has declined in recent years. But the number of natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) continues to grow.
• The number of adult natives 16-plus not in the labor force actually increased by 693,000 over the last year, November 2013 to November of 2014.
• Compared to November 2007, the number of adult natives not in the labor force is 11.1 million larger in November of this year.
• In total, there were 79.1 million adult natives and 13.5 million adult immigrants not in the labor force in November 2014. There were an additional 8.6 million immigrant and native adults officially unemployed.
• The percentage of adult natives in the labor force (the participation rate) did not improve at all in the last year.
• All of the information in BLS Table A-7 indicates there is no labor shortage in the United States, even as many members of Congress and the president continue to support efforts to increase the level of immigration, such as Senate bill S.744 that passed in the Senate last year. This bill would have roughly doubled the number of immigrants allowed into the country from one million annually to two million.
• It will take many years of sustained job growth just to absorb the enormous number of people, primarily native-born, who are currently not working and return the country to the labor force participation rate of 2007. If we continue to allow in new immigration at the current pace or choose to increase the immigration level, it will be even more difficult for the native-born to make back the ground lost in the labor market.

Abdel Rodriguez protests at Versaille's Restaurant in Miami on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, after President Obama's decision to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)
TNS/Abdel Rodriguez protests at Versaille’s Restaurant in Miami after President Obama’s decision to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States
Obama’s Cuba gambit will fail

In 1989, I was just a bright-eyed young American lad who had decided to put the time between high school and college to better use than simply learning how many beers he could successfully “funnel” before introducing his face to the floor. So I set off for southern Africa.
By the late 1980s, South Africa had long been cut off from much of the world, the subject of an increasingly comprehensive international economic embargo. As a result, the countries surrounding South Africa, writhing in post-colonial chaos and already inextricably linked to their southernmost neighbor, were forced by geography, history and demographics to share South Africa’s enforced solitude. And that solitude produced the land that greeted me. What I discovered upon my arrival was a place far uglier — and stranger — than I had imagined.
At its best, Africa is as magnificent a work of art as the Almighty has ever created. The Drakensburg mountains rise so empress-like, an ’80s band ought to write a song about them. The Indian Ocean shores at Durban look like board of tourism postcards. The Kalahari’s almost Martian emptiness is somehow made even lonelier by Camelthorn trees waiting for National Geographic to photograph them. And to the eye of an American teenager, meeting the animals from the zoo on their turf is nearly as cool (“How much does that bull elephant weigh?”) as it is intimidating (“how fast does that bull elephant run?”).
Even the cities had their high points. At its center, Johannesburg was a modern, glass and concrete affair not entirely dissimilar to any mid- to large-sized American city’s business district — Charlotte, North Carolina, with weird food. The better neighborhoods in Pretoria were half a world away from affluent American suburbia, but could have been right next door. The safari lodges in Botswana were as nice as any 4-star hotel in which Michelle Obama and 40 or so of her friends have stayed on the taxpayers’ nickel.
But at its worst, Southern Africa is closer to hell than Detroit. The townships and homelands outside South Africa’s cities were glorified prison camps. In some places, the poverty was so shocking, it could nearly shake your faith. Illness, death and their evil friend, grief, didn’t hide in the shadows; they drove bulldozers right through whole villages. And oh, dear God, the smell! A trip to an economically embargoed land would change even the most pampered child’s appreciation for regular municipal garbage-hauling and the people who do that job. Bless you, “garbage man.” (Author’s aside: Because garbage-removal is as rare as meaningful personal liberty across most of Southern Africa, people burn their refuse. While it creates an unholy stink, it has the odd effect of producing almost cartoonishly vibrant sunsets, proving that the Almighty can create beauty out of almost anything and is, indeed, everywhere.)
As a direct consequence of the economic prison sentence imposed by the globalist-led United Nations, the elite in sub-Saharan Africa held onto virtually all of the wealth and resources, while the poor lived in conditions that make the Motor City look like Monte Carlo.
In the early ’90s, apartheid collapsed in on itself, and the region was suddenly thrown open to the world. Money flowed in like water. And lo and behold, the once-downtrodden masses mired in unspeakable poverty enjoyed the sudden influx of foreign capital by — remaining downtrodden and mired in unspeakable poverty. In their haste to congratulate the new governments of places like South Africa and Zimbabwe, no one bothered to take note of who the new governments were. Moreover, no one bothered to notice that the only people capable of handling large inflows of foreign currency and investment were the same people who had handled inflows of foreign currency and investment. The end of the embargo in southern Africa spread some money around some new people who were largely as greedy for authority (and, therefore, unsuited to wield it), gave the rest of it to the same people who had it before and left the overwhelming majority suffering from monstrous diseases, dying ridiculously young and burning their trash.
Here’s the thing: Trade the click consonants and glottal stoppages for EspaƱol and dress everyone in T-shirts proclaiming loyalty to a Major League Baseball team, and Southern Africa is Cuba. Cuba is a Marxist hellhole. Worse: Cuba is precisely the hellhole Marxism always produces, albeit with tropical-getaway foliage. A ludicrously tiny minority of the people — in Cuba’s case, the Castros and whichever of their cronies hasn’t been sent to “rehabilitation” for “crimes against the state” — not only own nearly everything of value, they essentially own everyone else. While the Castro boys party with Hollywood stars, the average Cuban scrapes and claws his way to a subsistence living. And, as is always the case in a communist dictatorship, the average Cuban knows: Someone is always watching.
Now, more than a half-century after President John F. Kennedy — himself perhaps the most undeservedly praised foreign policy leader of the 20th century — decided to prove to Cubans the merits of freedom by forcibly divorcing them from the merits of freedom, President Barack H. Obama — clearly the most deservedly reviled foreign policy leader of just about any century — has decided to skip the dating phase and just go steady with the younger Castro brother. In a Wednesday announcement, Obama proclaimed “(W)e will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.” He offered as a rationale: “(I)solation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach.” Rather than form a cohesive plan for reintegrating the communist holdout (the diplomatic version of “getting to know each other”), Obama is going to give the Castros the keys and hope they’ll be gentle.
It’s reasonable to conclude that Obama’s decades of tutelage at the knees of Marxist firebrands like Bill Ayers, F.M. Davis and Saul Alinsky, acting in concert with of decades of unfettered American globalism, has produced a president who lacks not only the will to make hard choices, but the wisdom to know the difference. By conducting the negotiations under the same shroud of secrecy that he used to cover up his trade of five Taliban serial killers for one (alleged) sniveling deserter, Obama sold out not only the American people who deserve better than to be repeatedly ignored by his increasingly imperial stylings, but the victims of stunning communist oppression in Cuba. And in haste to do something — anything — on the foreign stage that didn’t end in his abject humiliation, Obama has simply repeated one of the two failed strategies that have defined most of America’s foreign adventures since JFK was still sneaking Marilyn Monroe out the back door of the White House.
Just as embargoes punish only the already-oppressed, suddenly unfettered global investment enriches only the already-wealthy. The average Cuban isn’t likely to see much of a new dollar from overseas. But he’d be overjoyed to learn that he won’t be sent to “re-education camp” if he somehow manages to snare one. But it’s a fool’s errand to think a president like Obama, who has willingly lied to, spied upon and harassed his own people, would understand the plight of the average Cuban, especially since he clearly doesn’t care about the plight of the average American.
Sadly, most American politicians tend toward hawkish intervention or mewling appeasement. They either can’t — or, in Obama’s case, won’t — open their eyes to the lessons of fairly recent history. All “stick” produces Iraq and Afghanistan. All “carrot” produces South Africa and Zimbabwe. The careful balance produces post-unification Germany. Instead, Obama has chosen to pour carrots into Cuba, ignorant of the fact that the communists will simply eat what they want and bury their people in the castoffs. In fact, I’ll predict that Cuba, with its peculiar confluence of European and African cultural heritage steeped in decades of brutal communist hegemony, will end up being a lot like another bastard creation of too much money without enough liberty: Russia. Given Obama’s personal humiliation at the hands of current Russian oligarch and Soviet holdover Vladimir Putin, and his barely concealed admiration for precisely the sort of government that made Cuba such a party for the past half-century, it’s likely Obama won’t figure this one out until it’s too late.
–Ben Crystal

The Evolution of an American Patriot – From the Battlefield to Capitol Hill to Policy Development

I have been granted a rare opportunity to embark on a new endeavor as CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a national think tank headquartered in Dallas. After serving my country for 22 years of honorable active duty service in a military career and a term in US House of Representatives, I now have a new mission: leading one of America’s premier public policy research centers into its fourth decade. Our objective is to create the preeminent free-market, public policy group in America.
My years in and following elected office have brought me to a deeply held conviction: If our country is to grow economically, provide new opportunities and secure the promise of the American dream, it will be policy, not politics that guides us.
Policy should be based on sound fundamentals — proven principles espoused by men and women unconcerned about winning elections — unlike politicians who tell the electorate whatever they need to in order to promote themselves and their ambitions. Good policy means you tell the truth regardless of how painful it may be.
This position with the NCPA will afford me the opportunity to impact the development of policy positions that will advance economic growth, individual opportunity and restore the promise of America for current and future generations.
Growth” means our economic practices and policies – free market, not Keynesian principles. “Opportunity” includes those policies that promote “equality of opportunity” versus “equality of outcomes,” and that starts with a good quality education. Having grown up in the inner city of Atlanta, this is a priority for me personally. We should not have our children trapped in failing schools because special interest unions and lobby groups buy political influence. “Promise” refers to securing the American dream that – regardless of where you are born or where you come from – you have the individual right to the “pursuit of happiness.” The NCPA will advocate for policies enabling that pursuit, not policies or politics that promote the false concept of a government “guarantee of happiness.”
We want to align ourselves with the fundamental principles of governance of America as a Constitutional Republic; to advancing the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual sovereignty, a free market/free enterprise economy and a strong national defense. As we examine the policies that are synchronized with this governing philosophy and these principles, we become focused not on party but rather on effective and efficient governing policy – and we must be able to simply articulate that in the public sphere.
The NCPA’s current policy research focuses on taxes, retirement, health care, energy, education and environmental issues. As we further develop the NCPA as a policy center and nexus for sound, private sector policy solutions, the objective is to expand the focus to the three legs of security – economic, energy and national defense.
Economic security includes tax, regulatory, government spending and monetary reforms that advance the free market economic system. The primary goal is to return America to fiscal policies that create a positive environment for investment, innovation and ingenuity that stimulates economic growth reflected in a strong and robust GDP percent. In this leg we also must continue to address the issues of health care reform and health care spending, which now encompasses one-sixth of our economy. It is critical that we never lose sight of free market ideals and solutions over those that are government-driven, where our economy is now drifting. We must preserve an economic environment where small business can thrive and entrepreneurship is encouraged without the excessive printing of money and dangerously low interest rates. As we reform our tax code we must examine our federal budgetary process, determining how we can move away from the baseline process toward a zero-based budget and prioritize appropriations. We must slow down the debt clock and identify sound solutions for the mandatory spending side of our budget that free future generations of obligations for today’s deficits.
Energy security is just as vital. We should be producing, consuming, and exporting our energy resources here in America. Part of the 21stcentury policy battlefield is energy resources – just look at how Vladimir Putin leverages it against Europe. The NCPA can be a leader in analyzing the full spectrum development of our energy resources – an energy Manhattan Project. This leg promotes our economic growth, offering better opportunities for Americans as we have seen emanating from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota – as well as right there in West Texas and the Permian basin.
National security is the number one responsibility of the federal government. Without providing for the common defense, little else can be accomplished. The NCPA can objectively look at what kind of 21st century U.S. military force will be required to meet the challenges posed by forces without a country but with a solitary, adversarial agenda – the non-state, non-uniformed belligerents. America must also possess a security policy strategy that remains focused on the traditional nation-state adversaries. Defense policy has to return to the premise of "peace through strength," but it must be done on a fiscally responsible basis. We can no longer afford the belief that our military is the bill payer for fiscal irresponsibility. National security policy is not budget based, but rather threat based. NCPA will assess how we focus on the warfighter, their families and our Veterans, – not the expansive growth of the defense bureaucracy or elongated defense systems development.
The NCPA will be America's Think Tank, a repository of information for each American citizen to find reasoned, principled analysis. We want our message to reach the kitchen tables of the everyday American – the middle-income family. Notice I stress “income” and not class because here in America, with a free market system, no one is relegated to a class or caste. That is what the promise of the “pursuit of happiness” provides, the indomitable American entrepreneurial spirit. The seminal aim of our policy development and analysis is to ensure that Americans do truly “build that” in an environment free of crony capitalism and a bureaucratic regulatory state that hinders growth. We want to hear back from the American people, to garner their input and also their ideas. They are the ultimate shareholders of this grand experiment in liberty, freedom, and democracy. Most of all, I look forward to expanding our base of volunteers at the NCPA, becoming an active member in the Dallas-Fort Worth community, and expanding our youth programs to set the stage for the development of our future statesmen and women.
No more political gimmickry, or trite, poll-tested and marketed sound bites that reduce the American electorate into following the shiny object. We must return to sound, principled policy based upon our Constitutional Republic philosophy of governance, fundamental principles and proven policies for success, prosperity and security. It is not about seeking or attaining political office for myself. It is about being a servant – a Guardian of the Republic – enabling a better engaged and informed electorate and advancing policies that enable us to pass on an exceptional America to our subsequent generations – that is the essence of our genetic code. It is about the oath of office that I took many years ago "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same." It is an oath my dad took and deployed to World War II. It is an oath my older brother took and deployed in the Vietnam War. It is an oath that my young nephew took and has two combat deployments to Afghanistan under his belt. It is an oath that has no statute of limitations and that I will never apologize for defending strongly – especially since I have seen what it means to give the “last full measure of devotion” to this Republic.
The National Center for Policy Analysis has so blessed me to be a voice that can have an impact on the future of my country and folks -- it just does not get any better than that! Because that, Ladies and Gents, is why America is great. Your beginning station in life does not determine your end station of achievement. It comes down to a quote oft attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” My intent as CEO of the NCPA will be to live up to Franklin’s challenge to keep this Republic, and to support policies that protect the American right to pursue happiness.

In Vermont, single-payer healthcare quietly disappears


If you’re looking for a state with a reliable Leftward tilt, you’d be hard pressed to do better than Vermont. After all, this is the place which has repeatedly elected Bernie Sanders – a man who considers the Democrat Party too conservative for his tastes – to statewide office since 1991. So in terms of socialist experimental laboratories, this is the spot where you’d want to launch progressive initiatives and take them for a test spin. That was the plan for Governor Peter Shumlin, who had promised his constituents that they would soon be enjoying the first in the nation single payer healthcare plan. But faced with the cold, harsh light of reality, that plan is now history.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday dropped his plan to enact a single-payer health care system in his state — a plan that had won praise from liberals but never really got much past the framework stage.
“This is not the right time” for enacting single payer, Shumlin said in a statement, citing the big tax increases that would be required to pay for it.
Shumlin faced deep skepticism that lawmakers could agree on a way to pay for his ambitious goal and that the feds would agree to everything he needed to create the first state-based single-payer system in 2017.

You can’t attribute the entire mess to one cause, but it certainly didn’t help Shumlin’s case to have Jonathan Gruber involved in the project to the tune of roughly $400K. The voters probably weren’t looking forward to being lectured on videotape about how stupid they are in 2015. But, again, that probably wouldn’t have been enough to scrap the plan by itself.
Far more of a problem was the fact that the project couldn’t be funded in a self-sustaining way without causing an all out revolt among the peasants. Individual taxpayers would have been subjected to a 9.5% “premium assessment” while businesses would have been paying an even larger tax hit. And all of the money wouldn’t have resulted in an actual single payer system anyway. Shumlin was going to have to exempt large companies with their own health care plans and people would have still been eligible for Medicare. The competing plans would have gutted the system which would have needed essentially 100% buy-in and contributions from every citizen to even have a chance of working.
But perhaps the most telling feature of this staggering failure was the fact that the plan could not work without a massive influx of federal dollars. They were not able to secure a guarantee that the money would be available and the project went under. Now imagine scaling that up to a national single payer plan. Who would be available further upstream to help fund that? Nobody. The money would all have to be extracted from the taxpayers and every business in the country. And if we managed to pull it off you could soon be enjoying the benefits of waiting for years to get an appointment or some critical surgery.
Vermont is clearly a leader in socialist experimentation. In this case they may have actually provided us with a valuable lesson in what not to do.

Hot 2014 Doesn’t Prove Manmade Global Warming Hysteria Right

The data may show Earth experienced its hottest year on record in 2014, but that would not be proof humans are causing global warming. It wouldn’t even prove the year was the hottest on record, or even particularly hot.
As early as September, global warming alarmists were claiming 2014 would set the record for highest average global temperature.
While cities and regions in the United States have been breaking record after record for cold temperatures and snowfall, most of the rest of the globe, including the oceans that make up most of Earth’s surface, has been warmer than average. Looking only at the badly flawed land-based temperature measurements, 2014 may be the “hottest year on record.”
But it may not be, since much more accurate satellite temperature measurements indicate 2014 will be a year with only slightly above average temperatures at best.
Assuming for the sake of argument the satellite measurements are wrong, record high temperatures in 2014 would be consistent with climate models, but any good scientist will point out a single record-setting year, just as a single climate catastrophe like a bad hurricane or an anomalous drought, cannot be definitively linked to human activities.
Indeed, when climate realists like myself point out the fact that Earth experienced below-average temperatures during the 1940s through the 1970s, alarmists regularly respond, “two or three decades is too short a time to make general claims about climate.” If three decades of records is too short a time period to leap to conclusions about human-caused climate change, a single year, even a record-setting year, provides far too little data to come to any firm conclusions.
To believe humans are causing global warming, one must blindly embrace admittedly incomplete climate models to the exclusion of all evidence to the contrary.
Climate model temperature projections have consistently been much higher than actual temperatures, and each year the gap between model temperature predictions and actual measured temperatures grows. In addition, whereas climate models have projected steadily rising temperatures over the past two decades, global temperatures have in fact stagnated for 18 years despite a significant increase in greenhouse gases.
Some climate scientists, citing the models, claim we should be experiencing more severe hurricanes, but only one of the top ten deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history has occurred since 1957, with eight of the ten deadliest hurricanes having hit the United States before 1935. In fact, although greenhouse gas levels have risen dramatically since the 1950s, the average number of hurricanes and the number of strong hurricanes have declined substantially.
Biologists have predicted species will go extinct due to human-induced global warming, yet they can’t point to a single species that has. The iconic polar bear, the poster child for species endangered by a warming planet, is thriving. At more than 25,000 bears, the polar bear population increased substantially during the warming of the past half-century. In fact, polar bears numbers are growing in regions of their habitat experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures and lower-than-average sea ice thickness and extent.
Speaking of sea ice, the Arctic experienced dramatic declines in sea ice over the past decade, declines projected by climate models. In the past couple of years, however, Arctic ice has recovered to its average levels for the past decade; the decline has frozen (pardon the pun), as have global temperatures.
In addition, contrary to model projections, Antarctic sea ice has been growing to record levels year after year, setting new records multiple times in 2014 alone. Even climate modelers admit they can’t explain why Antarctica has been growing. Once again, the facts confound the models.
Climate models indicate global warming should be causing more and more-prolonged droughts and increased episodes of extreme rainfall, yet studies show recent droughts fall well within the historical average for frequency, length, and severity, and frequency of flooding events has not increased.
Despite the reported recent warming, deaths related to temperatures or extreme weather events have declined dramatically during the past century, a trend that shows no indication of abating.
The real bugaboo raised by environmental radicals is that sea levels are rising and will rise even more dramatically if global warming is not halted or at least slowed. Sea levels are rising, as they always do between ice ages, but the current rate of rise is well below the average for the past 18,000 years. The rate of rise has not increased over the past two centuries, and a recent study found the rate of sea-level rise has slowed 31 percent since 2002, and by 44 percent since 2004. At this pace, scientists expect sea-level rise of less than seven inches per century.
Whereas none of the climate disaster scenarios spun out by environmental alarmists and faithfully publicized by the mainstream media is being borne out in reality, one significant climate benefit is proving true. Globally, Earth is greening, as increased CO2 levels have proved to be a powerful steroid enhancing plant growth. Farmland and farm yields are both increasing.
How would climate alarmists have world leaders respond to all this good news? By killing fossil fuels.
As author Alex Epstein argues, instead of taking a safe climate and making it dangerous through the use of fossil fuels, we have been transforming a dangerous climate into a safer, more manageable one for human flourishing. This has particular benefits for people in developing countries, for whom additional fossil fuel energy is an economic godsend.
Humans have long fought a war with climate, and to the extent we’ve won, it has been through the use of technology, most recently including fossil fuels. I say let’s keep taking the battle to the climate on behalf of the millions of people still living in poverty.

Cuban President Raul Castro and then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad review an honor guard in Havana in July 2012.

After Obama’s Shift on Cuba, Some Say Iran Should Be Next

Shortly after President Obama announced his sweeping policy shift on Cuba, proponents of engagement with Iran said Tehran should get the same treatment.
In a series of tweets, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and its president, Trita Parsi, highlighted various remarks Obama made in his televised noon announcement and asked why they should not also apply to Iran.
“What Obama has now courageously done on Cuba, he should also do on Iran,” tweeted Parsi. “The last 2 years of Obama’s presidency might just become the most exciting ones ...”
“Just like with Cuba, positive movement on Iran can happen when President’s free from domestic restraints. And it will happen.”
The advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran dismissed Parsi’s comments as “shallow linkage from [a] shallow propagandist.”
The agreement on Cuba came after more than a year of secret talks, according to the White House.
In recent years, reports periodically have emerged of clandestine encounters between U.S. and Iranian officials, letters from Obama to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as more public discussions on the sidelines of multilateral nuclear talks.
Obama came into office expressing a willingness to reach out to America’s enemies, but early calls for “a new beginning” in relations were coldly rebuffed.
Iran’s harsh crackdown on dissent following the disputed 2009 presidential election dealt a further blow to outreach hopes, and the administration – prodded by Congress – imposed tougher sanctions over Tehran’s suspect nuclear programs.
The election last year of “moderate” President Hasan Rouhani and advances in the nuclear talks were met by optimism by engagement advocates such as NIAC.
Just last October, Obama sent his latest letter to Khamenei. It contents have not been released, but Iranian officials described its tone as “very friendly and kindly,” saying it was at odds with Obama’s tough tone in public utterances, and accusing him of hypocrisy.
Whenever administration officials are asked whether nuclear progress could lead to a broader rapprochement with Iran, they list other differences with the regime, including its support for terrorism, destabilizing policies in the region, threats against Israel, and violations of human rights and religious freedom at home.
However, critics of Obama’s Cuba shift note that it set no conditions for the communist regime to alter its foreign or human rights policies.
(In its most recent annual human rights report the State Department described Cuba as “an authoritarian state” which uses “threats, extrajudicial physical violence, intimidation, mobs, harassment, and detentions to prevent free expression and peaceful assembly,” among many other abuses.)
“Before considering such a major policy shift and giving the Cuban government what it wants, the Obama administration should have demanded that Cuba first end its support for terrorism and its oppression of the Cuban people,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).
NIAC saw the Cuba policy shift as promising for prospects of a new approach to Tehran.
“Let's hope President Obama will make a similar speech on Iran in the coming weeks,” Parsi and NIAC policy fellow Ryan Costello wrote in an op-ed reacting to Wednesday’s announcement.
They argued that opening up to Iran would prompt a change in behavior.
“Currently, requests for the Iranian government to respect its people or release imprisoned Americans often fall on deaf ears,” Parsi and Costello said. “However, with a new relationship and enhanced ties, it will be more difficult for Iran to ignore American requests.”
Writing for Weekly Standard, Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Elliot Abrams envisaged the reaction the Cuba announcement would have on those in countries like Saudi Arabia or Israel concerned about Iran.
“Your main ally against Iran for the past decades has been the United States. Naturally you worry about American policy. You remember President Obama’s outreach to Iran in 2009, and his failure to back the Iranian people’s protests in June of that year after the stolen election. You wonder if the United States can be relied on, or will one day announce a major policy shift.”
On hearing the news about Cuba, Abrams wrote, “[y]our conclusion about Iran is inevitable: that the Obama administration cannot be relied upon and is quite likely to abandon America’s Iran policy as well.”
Another CFR senior fellow, Max Boot, wrote Wednesday that he supported the shift on Cuba – “a broken-down Communist has-been” – but hoped Obama would not try to replicate the move with Iran.
“I just hope it will sate his appetite for diplomatic achievements before he makes ruinous concessions to the Iranians.”
While campaigning for the presidency, then-Sen. Obama was asked during a primary debate whether as president he would meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. He said he would, ridiculing what he said was the Bush administration’s “notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them.”
Efforts to reach out to Syria hit a wall when President Bashar al-Assad cracked down on dissent and the country spiraled into civil war. Then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ anti-U.S. hostility persisted, and North Korea remained implacable in its opposition to engage with Washington.
G’ day…
Ciao…….Moe Lauzier

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