Posts Tagged ‘Role of Government’
Another day, another Obama scandal.
The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.
According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.
How much money is on the line in this suit? Oh, a mere $25,000 in compensatory damages. Per violation. Which adds up to “a minimum of $250 billion.”Has Congress begun those emergency sessions to shut down ObamaCare yet? What else do they need to hear?
If they’ve already proven themselves capable of targeting conservatives with only their tax information, what will they be capable of when they have even more information on their targets?
If they’ve already illegally released conservatives’ confidential tax information, what’s to stop them from leaking dissidents’ personal health information as well?
Obamacare is not merely a massive overhaul of the health care system. It is also a substantial expansion of the Internal Revenue Service. That’s because the law relies on the tax collection agency to both enforce its individual mandate and administer the tax credits the law offers to subsidize the purchase of health insurance. Following recent revelations that agents in multiple IRS offices, including tax officials in Washington, targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, a number of former and current Republican legislators are already counseling caution about the agency’s role in administering the law.
Concerns about the agency’s oversight of the health law are well-founded—and not only because of general concerns about the agency’s judgment.
For one thing, the IRS appears to have specifically targeted groups that opposed the health care law. According to The Washington Post, “although some of the groups were explicitly labeled ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot,’ others that came under intense scrutiny were focused on challenging the Affordable Care Act — known by many as Obamacare — or the integrity of federal elections.”
In other words, the agency has singled out Obamacare opponents for unusual treatment. That does not speak well of the agency’s ability to fairly carry out its duties under the law.
Indeed it does not.
The editorial board at Investors Business Daily is similarly concerned:
[O]bamaCare’s individual mandate takes effect in 2014, all Americans who file income-tax returns must deal with and report personal health information to the IRS.
The IRS will require the name and health insurance identification number of the taxpayer, the name and tax identification number of the health insurance company, the number of months the taxpayer was covered by this insurance plan and whether the plan was purchased in one of ObamaCare’s “exchanges.”
Heavy fines will be levied for failure to jump through all the government’s hoops.
The new tax mandates and penalties in ObamaCare will require up to 16,500 new IRS personnel to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses, according to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the then-minority GOP staff of the House Ways & Means Committee in 2010.
Will the IRS enforce the mandate rules impartially, or will it go after only those who support individual liberty and oppose government encroachment on it?
Will ObamaCare resisters also be considered enemies of the state?
Translation: Don’t think. Don’t Question. Just go along with whatever the ruling class tells you to do.
A year to the day after kicking off his re-election campaign at Ohio State University, President Barack Obama returned to the college campus and told graduates that only through vigorous participation in their “democracy” can they right an ill-functioning government and break through relentless cynicism about the nation’s future.
Obama also urged the students to “reject these voices” that warn of the evils of government, saying:
Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems, nor do we want it to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government.
The cynics may be the loudest voices—but they accomplish the least. It’s the silent disruptors—those who do the long, hard, committed work of change—that gradually push this country in the right direction, and make the most lasting difference. [Emphasis added]
Doug Powers makes a powerful observation:
Interesting. Obama said that those who warn others to be on the lookout for government tyranny run counter to the reason this “brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule” called the United States of America was formed, when in fact a stand against government tyranny is precisely why this country came into existence. Can somebody please flick the paradox switch on the teleprompter to the “off” position?
Thomas Paine wrote about the “government and society should be a single entity” approach in Common Sense, and concluded the two should never be indistinguishable:
“Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one;”
1. We need no further proof to justify a chorus of horse-laughter over his claim to being a Constitutional scholar. Because a Constitutional scholar would have read a book or two. Specifically, say, the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. He would’ve seen that the nation was extremely concerned about tyranny in America in the run-up to the ratification of the federal Constitution. Indeed, those on the Anti-Federalist side seem more like prophets with each passing day, as they were convinced that the new Constitution would not, in fact, keep tyranny from happening here. Warning about government tyranny is practically the sine qua non of the American experiment.
President Reagan spoke as an American in this honorable tradition when he quipped that the scariest words in our language were, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Mr. Obama speaks those words in earnest, like he really means them, and wonders why anyone would be nervous about it.
2. I really have no idea who he’s talking about, these mysterious voices warning of tyranny lurking around the corner. Everyone I know who is paying any attention is aware that tyranny is here right now, out in the open! I wish we lived in a time when tyrants were still afraid to show themselves!
I especially like Trifecta’s take on this:
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THIS is why we need the Parental Rights Amendment!
Parents don’t even realize that the state now considers their parental rights something that are delegated to them by the state, rather than being unalienable rights endowed by Nature and Nature’s God! If a doctor decides to play god or someone decides to make a false accusation, your rights as a parent can be suddenly revoked, and you’re considered guilty until proven innocent!
A Sacramento family was torn apart after a 5-month-old baby boy was taken from his parents following a visit to the doctor.
The young couple thought their problems were behind them after their son had a scare at the hospital, but once they got home their problems got even worse.
It all began nearly two weeks ago, when Anna Nikolayev and her husband Alex took their 5-month-old boy Sammy to Sutter Memorial Hospital to be treated for flu symptoms, but they didn’t like the care Sammy was getting.
For example, one day Anna asked why a nurse was giving her son antibiotics.
“I asked her, for what is that? And she’s like, ‘I don’t know.’ I’m like, ‘you’re working as a nurse, and you don’t even know what to give to my baby for what,’” Anna explained.
According to Anna, a doctor later said Sammy shouldn’t have been on the antibiotics.
Anna said Sammy suffers from a heart murmur and had been seeing a doctor at Sutter for regular treatment since he was born. After Sammy was treated for flu symptoms last week, doctors at Sutter admitted him to the pediatric ICU to monitor his condition. After a few days, Anna said doctors began talking about heart surgery.
“If we got the one mistake after another, I don’t want to have my baby have surgery in the hospital where I don’t feel safe,” Anna said.
Anna argued with doctors about getting a second opinion. Without a proper discharge, she finally took Sammy out of the hospital to get a second opinion at Kaiser Permanente.
“The police showed up there. They saw that the baby was fine,” Anna said. “They told us that Sutter was telling them so much bad stuff that they thought that this baby is dying on our arms.”
Medical records from the doctor treating Sammy at Kaiser Permanente said the baby as clinically safe to go home with his parents. The doctor added, “I do not have concern for the safety of the child at home with his parents.”
“So police saw the report from the doctors, said, ‘okay guys, you have a good day,’ and they walked away,” Anna said.
That SHOULD have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t. Many doctors are no longer recognizing the right of parents to disagree with their recommendations and/or seek a second opinion. With god-like arrogance, they seek to intimidate, threaten and punish any patient that dares to question them, and the law allows them to do it.
Evidently the doctors and staff at Sutter were offended that Anna wanted to seek a second opinion because the day after the two hospital visits, police and Child Protective Services showed up at their house. Alex met them outside the door and says that the police pushed him against the house and then smacked him down to the ground. The police then opened the door without asking permission and entered the house. Anna, who was frightened to death, turned her camera on to record what was happening. She recorded one of the police officers telling her:
“I’m going to grab your baby, and don’t resist, and don’t fight me ok?”
The policeman took Sammy from them and turned him over to the CPS agent. They told the shocked and frightened parents that they had a report that Sammy had been severely neglected and that an investigation was being launched.
Alex and Anna have retained an attorney to help them sort the whole thing out. Their attorney says that there are absolutely no signs of neglect and that the exact opposite is true. The parents have never missed an appointment and they have the doctor’s records from Kaiser indicating that Sammy was okay to go home and that he was not in any danger.
Even though the baby shows no signs of neglect and the parents have not been charged with any crime, CPS forced them to agree to restrictions on their parental rights in order to regain custody. They have lost their right to disagree with the doctors over their son’s treatment, and must allow intrusive “follow up” visits into their home. ”Follow up” for what? Further proof that the parents have done nothing wrong? These parents are being treated as if they are guilty until proven innocent!
Five-month-old Sammy, who was removed from his parents’ custody by Sacramento County Child Protective Services last week, will be transported to Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, a Sacramento County judge ruled Monday. The baby has been in protective custody at Sutter Memorial Hospital.
The Nikolayevs have since been fighting to get their baby back and talking with local and international media to explain their case.
The court also ruled Monday the parents must following all medical advice from now on, including not taking their child from Stanford without proper discharge.
A county social worker will make regular house visits to check on Sammy once he is returned home.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Paul Seave said he believed all of the attorneys involved worked in the best interest of Sammy.
The “best interest of Sammy” was to be left with his parents the minute the cops saw he was in no danger, investigate the first hospital’s false reports to CPS, and investigate CPS’s unlawful abuses of power to harass and tear apart an innocent family!
ParentalRights.org explains why the Parental Rights Amendment is desperately needed:
Traditionally, the Supreme Court has recognized the “fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child,” found in the Fourteenth Amendment’s “Due Process” clause. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745 (1982) This protection, however, has been lost on Sacramento CPS. It is also being weakened through judicial erosion in the courts.
Passage of the Parental Rights Amendment will provide parents an explicit constitutional protection; otherwise, they’ll have to rely on the courts, hoping they will continue to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment as they traditionally have (but increasingly no longer do). And the PRA will allow organizations like CPS to know exactly what the rules are that they must follow.
“The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their child is a fundamental right. Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.”
These two sentences would make clear that CPS cannot take a child away unless it is prepared to prove that the child was in danger caused by abuse or neglect. In this case, it would increase the chances that common sense would prevail and baby Sammy would have gotten to stay home safe and sound with his mom and dad.
Imagine how many more incidents like this we are likely to see with a government takeover of health care!
Funny how Marxists don’t recognize your unalienable right to keep the fruits of your labor (especially if you happen to be more successful than they think you should be), but they claim that they have a “right” to demand free goodies at the expense of others.
Speaking outside on a sunny day, Harris-Perry says in an ad that aired Wednesday morning:
Americans will always want some level of inequality, because it’s a representation of meritocracy. People who work hard and sacrifice and save their money and make major contributions — we think that they should earn a little more. They should have more resources, and that’s fine. But we also, however, have to have a floor under which nobody falls. And if you’re below that — especially if you’re a child and you’re below that — we are not going to accept that. You do have the the right to health care, and to education, and to decent housing and to quality food at all times. [Emphasis added]
When something is a “right” (your life or conscience, for instance), it means you don’t have to do anything to earn it. You get to have it just for existing. It’s a gift from your Creator.
When you describe goods and services like food and housing as “rights,” you are saying that the people who produce these goods and services are obligated to provide them for you, whether you pay for them or not. There’s a word for this: slavery. Only slaves are forced to produce for others without compensation. TRUE rights come from God, and are unalienable. They cannot be provided by others, who could just as easily take them away.
You have an unalienable right to work and trade for goods and services. You do NOT have a “right” to demand them free of charge from others.
Melissa Harris-Perry: All Your Kids Belong to Us (Not the Parents)
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I’ve seen the village, and I don’t want it raising my kids!
In a scripted MSNBC promo, Melissa Harris-Perry made the following statement:
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had a private notion of children, your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
Got that? You kid doesn’t belong to you. He/she belongs to the “collective” – meaning, the state.
Ironically, this is the same woman who calls unborn babies “things that turn into humans.”
How do I put this politely? Stay the **** way from my kids!
So kids belong to whole communities? Didn’t we fight a war back in the 1800s to prove that people weren’t owned by the state or anyone else, but were, in fact, people? Seriously?
But take that out of it. This is amazingly stupid commentary. All of us who own property (real property, not children) pay property taxes to fund a public education system to educate our children. We have democratically elected school boards to make the decisions on how tocollectively educate our kids to common, state approved standards.
It is failing spectacularly. And I suspect that the tangible efforts to improve it, from neutering teachers unions to giving parents choices in where to send their children, are opposed by Melissa Harris-Perry.
I never thought I’d see the day when self-styled progressives advocated the state owning the people.
Ken Shepherd at Newsbusters correctly points out that this is actually Maoist philosophy she’s spewing:
[T]he notion of collective responsibility for children was a philosophy that undergirded the Cultural Revolution in Communist China under Chairman Mao. I bring that up because, as you may recall, another Harris-Perry “Lean Forward” spot contains a reference to a “great leap forward,” which calls to mind the disastrous agricultural reform plan which starved millions of Chinese to death in the 1950s.
The Five on Fox made some great points about this collectivist mentality while discussing this around the table:
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Sarah Palin tweeted a few ingenious responses to this:
Love it! After having spent 22 hours of my life in labor, I heartily agree!
After the justifiable outrage and backlash, Harris-Perry is trying to walk back her statements and blame the views for misunderstanding her. Nice try. This is typical for the Left. They float a trial balloon and then pretend it was all an innocent misunderstanding when they get called for dropping their mask. The mask goes back up, but the ugliness behind it doesn’t go away. They work by desensitizing people over time, so that what sounds outrageous now will actually start to sound reasonable a few years from now. I don’t buy her “backpedaling” for a second.
Sign the petition to adopt the only Constitutional Amendment that will protect children from this kind of power grab – the Parental Rights Amendment!
Short answer: because if they acknowledge parents’ fundamental right to educate their children, they will have to recognize it for all parents here, as well.
Uwe and Hanna are home-school parents from Germany. But Germany doesn’t tolerate home schooling. Those who do are harassed, fined, imprisoned, and can lose custody of their children. Uwe and Hanna had such a religious and moral problem with what German government schools were teaching that they chose to school their children themselves, just as millions in this country do every day. But Germany’s laws, based upon a 1938 law signed by Adolph Hitler, believe that Germany’s children belong to the State from an educational standpoint. The law prohibits parents from educating their own children so that Germany can prevent a different worldview, or “society” as the law states, from arising.
After increased persecution from the German state, Uwe and Hanna fled to the United States. A Federal judge heard the arguments and granted them asylum, stating that Germany’s law and policy was “Nazi-esque”.
Immediately, the Obama Administration filed suit against the ruling and will bring the case before the United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Court on April 23. They are seeking to deport the Romeike family, which would send Uwe and Hanna back to Germany to face jail and possibly the loss of their children.
Why does the administration seek to do this?
Because it agrees with the German law. It doesn’t believe that parents have a right to educate their children. It is more in line with the National Education Association that homeschooling shouldn’t be allowed. It believes that the government can best educate “America’s children”. It doesn’t want another worldview taught in this country. It wants America’s children to have one worldview and one worldview only.
That is why they don’t want to grant asylum to the Romeike family. That would affirm parental rights—rights that have been fought for by so many courageous parents over the last 40 years in this country. Rights that I believe will take a serious hit if this case is won by the Administration.
Think of it this way: if the Administration wins this case, the legal statement and precedence will be set that parents do not have a fundamental right to educate their children and if the State were to ban home schooling, it would not be a violation of parental rights at all.
Back in the 1920′s, women began fighting against a clear double standard when it came to sexuality. Promiscuous men were given a wink and a “boys will be boys” excuse, while promiscuous women were frowned upon. Women were right to fight against this double standard, but they chose the wrong solution.
Instead of working to ensure that sexual purity was expected from BOTH sexes, they fought for the “right” to violate God’s design with equal impunity, believe that would be “freedom.” It wasn’t freedom – it was slavery. It led to rampant STD’s, broken families, and illegitimate and aborted children. It paved the way for the sexual revolution of the ’60′s and the total breakdown of the family.
40 years ago, with ”no fault” divorce, we redefined marriage as a relationship based solely on the romantic feelings of the participants. We allow the contract to be dissolved for no other reason than diminished feelings, completely ignoring the fact that children’s rights are thrown aside and their lives destroyed at the mere whim of their parents.
Ronald Reagan is one of my heroes. But I’ll be the first to say that on this one, he blew it BIG TIME. I can understand his reasoning. A victim of divorce himself, he wanted to prevent abandoned spouses from being trashed with false accusations by the spouse who was looking for any excuse to leave.
Instead of protecting abandoned spouses, “no-fault” divorce actually made them powerless to protect their family. Reagan later regretted signing the law and called it one of his biggest mistakes. That mistake is what laid the foundation for the battle we are now facing over marriage, 40 years later.
Whenever you are tempted to think that compromising “just this little bit” won’t hurt or change anything, think again. The Left are experts at using incrementalism to push their agenda, one inch at a time.
Damon Linker argues that the foundation was first laid with the introduction of birth control, which removed procreation as the primary purpose for getting (and staying) married:
Permitting gay marriage will not lead Americans to stop thinking of marriage as a conjugal union. Quite the reverse: Gay marriage has come to be widely accepted because our society stopped thinking of marriage as a conjugal union decades ago.
Between five and six decades ago, to be precise. That’s when the birth control pill — first made available to consumers for the treatment of menstrual disorders in 1957 and approved by the FDA for contraceptive use three years later — began to transform sexual relationships, and hence marriage, in the United States. Once pregnancy was decoupled from intercourse, pre-marital sex became far more common, which removed one powerful incentive to marry young (or marry at all). It likewise became far more common for newlyweds to give themselves an extended childless honeymoon (with some couples choosing never to have kids).
In all of these ways, and many more, the widespread availability of contraception transformed marriage from a conjugal union into a relationship based to a considerable degree on the emotional and sexual fulfillment of its members — with childrearing often, though not always, a part of the equation. And it is because same-sex couples are obviously just as capable as heterosexual couples of forming relationships based on emotional and sexual fulfillment that gay marriage has come to be accepted so widely and so quickly in our culture. (If marriage were still considered a conjugal union, the idea of gay marriage could never have gained the support it currently enjoys. On the contrary, it would be considered ridiculous — as it remains today among members of religious groups that continue to affirm more traditional, conjugal views of marriage.)
Once marriage was reduced to a mere partnership of convenience, destroying what was supposed to be a life-long commitment became much easier, and the results were devastating:
In the inaugural edition of National Affairs, W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, pointed out: “In [September] 1969, Governor Ronald Reagan of California made what he later admitted was one of the biggest mistakes of his political life. Seeking to eliminate the strife and deception often associated with the legal regime of fault-based divorce, Reagan signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce bill.”
After California, every state followed suit.
No-fault divorce answers the Pharisee’s question to Jesus, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” with a resounding, “Yes!” Then it adds that it is also lawful for a woman to divorce her husband for any and every reason. In the U.S., wives initiate approximately two thirds of divorces.
It permits unilateral divorce, that is, one spouse can decide “for any and every reason” that the marriage is over giving the other spouse no recourse.
Children of divorce are “two to three times more likely to suffer from serious social or psychological pathologies.”
The result, says Wilcox, was that, when added to the sexual and psychological revolutions of the ‘60s and ‘70s, the number of divorces doubled between 1960 and 1980.
Divorce became acceptable even among Christians, easier to rationalize, and far easier to obtain. People who were unhappy and found their marriages unfulfilling, says Wilcox, “felt obligated to divorce in order to honor the newly widespread ethic of expressive individualism.” Children, everyone felt certain, were resilient and would do just fine.
But children of divorce, says Wilcox, are “two to three times more likely than their peers in intact marriages to suffer from serious social or psychological pathologies.”
Beyond children, divorce often has devastating social, psychological, spiritual, and financial consequences for at least one spouse. And others’ divorces effect all of us by calling every marriage into question. “[W]idespread divorce,” writes Wilcox, “undermined ordinary couples’ faith in marital permanency and their ability to invest financially and emotionally in their marriages—ultimately casting clouds of doubt over their relationship.”
Children of divorce lose their faith in marriage and are less likely to marry themselves. As a result, cohabitation rates have skyrocketed, which is bad news for adults, children, and marriage since, as Michael and Harriett McManus report in Living Together, cohabitation carries a whopping 80 percent failure rate.
In the beginning, the argument was made that divorce wasn’t really harmful to children, and that it would be more harmful if their unhappy parents stayed together. That has since been entirely debunked. The damage to multiple generations of divorce-scarred children is incalculable.
Sadly, proponents of gay marriage assure us that there is no harm in denying children either a mother or a father, but that social experiment, like so many others that try to substitute the nuclear family, will fail. And innocent children will be hurt in the process.
“What good excuse would keep a person in an unhappy, unrewarding relationship?” asked one respondent, a woman who left a twenty-five-year marriage because she was “tired of trying to please, gain love, do the ‘right thing.’“ “Would it be denial of a problem?” she asked. “Would it be financial gain, would it be ‘for the children,’ would it be for all the wrong reasons? My question—why would an unwanted spouse wish to stay in a marriage? What is, therefore, wrong with no-fault divorce?”
This is a common sentiment among Americans, one strategy we employ to resolve the moral conflict between two spouses, one of whom wants a divorce and the other does not: You want to hold onto someone who doesn’t want you any more? What kind of loser are you?
On the other side, another woman wrote to tell me of her husband’s decision to divorce her: “At age fifty-seven, he announced he would seek a divorce. All my dreams, hopes, and looking forward to some well-earned ‘golden time’ were dashed and smashed to smithereens. Our thirty-seven-year marriage was to be erased. My former standard of living was obliterated and can never be reached again.” “Our laws,” she complained, “do not differentiate between four months or forty years.”
Nor do they differentiate between a woman who wants to leave an abusive husband and a man who wants to trade in an aging wife. Our laws make no distinctions at all, because no-fault’s primary purpose is to empower whichever party wants out, with the least possible fuss and the greatest possible speed, no questions asked.
The right to leave ASAP is judged so compelling that it overwhelms the right to make (and be held responsible for) our commitments. For twenty-five years we have talked and written and legislated about no-fault divorce as if it represented an increase in personal choice. As the letters I received from divorcees suggest, this is a simplification and a falsification of our experience with no-fault divorce. For in most cases, divorce is not a mutual act, but the choice of one partner alone. “We might expect that both partners would be ready to end the relationship by the time one leaves,” note family scholars Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr. and Andrew J. Cherlin in their book Divided Family. “But the data suggest otherwise. Four out of five marriages ended unilaterally.”
No-fault divorce does not expand everyone’s personal choice. It empowers the spouse who wishes to leave, and leaves the spouse who is being left helpless, overwhelmed, and weak. The spouse who chooses divorce has a liberating sense of mastery, which psychologists have identified as one of the key components of personal happiness. He or she is breaking free, embracing change, which, with its psychic echoes of the exhilarating original adolescent break from the family, can dramatically boost self-esteem.
Being divorced, however (as the popularity of the movie The First Wives’ Clubattests) reinforces exactly the opposite sense of life. Being divorced does not feel like an act of personal courage, or transform you into the hero of your own life story, because being divorced is not an act. It is something that happens to you, over which, thanks to no-fault divorce legislation, you have no say at all.
The spouse who leaves learns that love dies. The spouse who is left learns that love betrays and that the courts and society side with the betrayers. In court, your marriage commitment means nothing. The only rule is: Whoever wants out, wins. By gutting the marital contract, no-fault divorce has transformed what it means to get married. The state will no longer enforce permanent legal commitments to a spouse. Formally, at least, no-fault divorce thus demotes marriage from a binding relation into something best described as cohabitation with insurance benefits.
Is it any wonder, with the decades of damage that has been done to the definition and purpose of marriage in our society, that people begin to assume that redefining it further is no big deal?
[H]omosexuals did not destroy marriage, heterosexuals did. The demand for same-sex marriage is a symptom, not a cause, of the deterioration of marriage. By far the most direct threat to the family is heterosexual divorce. “Commentators miss the point when they oppose homosexual marriage on the grounds that it would undermine traditional understandings of marriage,” writes family scholar Bryce Christensen. “It is only because traditional understandings of marriage have already been severely undermined that homosexuals are now laying claim to it.”
Though gay activists cite their desire to marry as evidence that their lifestyle is not inherently promiscuous, they readily admit that marriage is no longer the barrier against promiscuity that it once was. If the standards of marriage have already been lowered, they ask, why shouldn’t homosexuals be admitted to the institution?
“The world of no-strings heterosexual hookups and 50% divorce rates preceded gay marriage,” Andrew Sullivan points out. “All homosexuals are saying C9 is that, under the current definition, there’s no reason to exclude us. If you want to return straight marriage to the 1950s, go ahead. But until you do, the exclusion of gays is simply an anomaly—and a denial of basic civil equality.”
[...] Conservatives have completely misunderstood the significance of the divorce revolution. While they lament mass divorce, they refuse to confront its politics. Maggie Gallagher attributes this silence to “political cowardice”: “Opposing gay marriage or gays in the military is for Republicans an easy, juicy, risk-free issue,” she wrote in 1996. “The message [is] that at all costs we should keep divorce off the political agenda.”
No American politician of national stature has seriously challenged unilateral divorce. “Democrats did not want to anger their large constituency among women who saw easy divorce as a hard-won freedom and prerogative,” writes Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. “Republicans did not want to alienate their upscale constituents or their libertarian wing, both of whom tended to favor easy divorce, nor did they want to call attention to the divorces among their own leadership.”
In his famous denunciation of single parenthood, Vice President Dan Quayle was careful to make clear, “I am not talking about a situation where there is a divorce.” A lengthy article in the current Political Science Quarterly is devoted to the fact—at which the author expresses astonishment—that self-described “pro-family” Christian groups devote almost no effort to reforming divorce laws.
This failure has seriously undermined the moral credibility of the campaign against same-sex marriage. “People who won’t censure divorce carry no special weight as defenders of marriage,” writes columnist Froma Harrop. “Moral authority doesn’t come cheap.”
A blogger named Cindy made these interesting observations about the hypocrisy of Christians who supported “Amendment 1″ in North Carolina:
As long as we’ve still got easy, no-fault divorce, and a culture that excuses and applauds all sorts of “straight” perversion, I’m afraid I just can’t get myself all worked up about a mere one or two percent of the population wishing to do what the rest of us have been doing for a couple of generations now—have a temporarily monogamous life with the person of their choosing, along with all the privileges that the State has chosen to attach to that temporarily monogamous lifestyle.
Let’s face it, Christians, we’re not having this conversation because homosexuals pose some kind of threat to our way of life. (They don’t.) We’re having this conversation because we’re finally at the bottom of a slippery slope that we polished to a glossy finish for ourselves when we separated marriage, sex, and procreation from each other, making the union of matrimony about our own happiness rather than about familial and social stability. Now we’re just trying to stop the slide before we fall off the cliff entirely. But we’re not much interested in doing the hard work of climbing back up to marital sanctity ourselves!
[...] This amendment seems to me to be nothing more than a far-too-late moral panic, with very little thinking behind it at all. Our culture is in a state of sexual anarchy, and most of us—I’ll wager even most of those who voted yes on Amendment One—kinda like it that way! But gay marriage is where we draw our arbitrary line, because the majority of people don’t like that sin the way we like our own.
We seem to hold the superstitious belief that stopping gay marriage at the ballot box will appease the wrath of the God whose opinion we stopped consulting on these matters generations ago.
Wake me up when we’re interested in using marriage for its intended purpose. Until then, I don’t think this amendment is going to amount to a hill of beans, and I’m not going to waste a lot of breath trying to defend it.
I disagree with her belief that gay marriage poses no threat to religious liberty (the multiple incidents of discrimination lawsuits against Christians who decline to provide services for same-sex weddings is just one example). But her assessment of the hypocritical double standard is spot-on.
The solution is not to degenerate marriage even further, but to admit our own culpability in the destruction of marriage, and to fight for its total restoration as it was 50 years ago – not the “status quo.”
I don’t blame gays for hating the current double standard in the churches, where homosexuality is condemned and those who struggle with it are often ostracized, while straight sexual sin is often justified, and straight sinners are treated with grace and understanding. In God’s eyes, gay sexual sin is no different than straight sexual sin - both need God’s grace and forgiveness, and neither can be overcome in our own strength, without the power of the Holy Spirit.
In all honesty, I believe the church is going to lose the gay marriage battle, because we deserve to (just as God allowed Israel to be carried off into Babylon, because they had become no different than their pagan conquerors). We have failed to keep our own house in order. The church has not been salt and light with our righteous behavior – we have become hypocritical finger-pointers.
Of course, going back to seeking sexual purity as a nation can’t be achieved by laws – it has to happen through revival and repentance, beginning with the church.
Cyprus is only the first domino.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has struck a deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund that will seize up to 40% of uninsured funds from wealthier depositors with over 100,000 euros and will not siphon funds from those below that amount.
The 10 billion euros ($13 billion) bailout plan calls for the Cyprus Popular Bank to be dissolved and all its viable assets transferred to the country’s biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus.
Presently, Cypriot banks have imposed a 100 euros ATM withdraw limit, and Cyprus border officials at air and sea ports have been ordered to confiscate the funds of any traveler attempting to leave with over 10,000 euros.
How dare they try to keep the money they worked so hard for and saved AFTER taxes were already paid on it? Don’t they know that private property is an illusion under Socialism? That the government is free to spend as irresponsibly as it wants, and can steal your money at will to pay the tab? That’s what they’ve been voting for all this time, right? Or didn’t they realize it?
Understandably, Cypriots are desperately trying to get their money out, but it’s too late:
The president of Cyprus assured his people a bailout deal he struck with the European Union was in their best interests, but banks will remain closed until Thursday – and even then subject to capital controls to prevent a run on deposits.
The ruling class insists that stealing money out of their bank accounts is “in their best interests.” Doesn’t that make them feel better? They’ll be patriotic and happy to “share the sacrifice” for the greater good, right? Of course not!
Tyler Durden reports that there is a “Cash Exodus From Cyprus Surges Despite Bank Closures, Capital Controls“:
From FAZ, google translation edited:
Despite the closed banks and a lock for payments in the past week, more money flowed out of Cyprus than in previous weeks, Frankfurter experts report for payments. Prior to the escalation of the crisis in Cyprus accruing on the payment system Target liabilities of Cypriot central bank to the European Central Bank (ECB) had increased daily at approximately 100 to 200 million euros. In recent days was after Parliament the stabilization program initially had to fail, the daily has risen to more than double. Just in the last week so could cash assets have been withdrawn from Cyprus in the billions, although the Cypriot central bank has actually issued a lock.
How is it possible that cash is leaving the country even with a bank halt? It isn’t, unless of course, the banks aren’t really halted, and some outbound wire transfers, which are permitted, are more equal than other wire transfers which are stuck on the island. Of course, that would imply an “Europe Farm” type of arrangement, which in the bastion of fairness, equality and honesty which is Europe, would be absolutely impossible.
On the other hand, if indeed the drain of the Cypriot banking system has continued despite all the enacted halts during the past week, then it’s game over for Cyprus, which will soon have only the ECB to thank for providing liquidity, an arrangement that may not be the best long-term outcome for a nation whose economy has basically been gutted in the span of one week.
It also means game over for the bailout as envisioned, as the EUR17 billion is history, and much more cash will have to be injected to cover for the stealth outflows.
Cyprus won’t be the only one affected, of course. An unusually honest Eurozone official has made it clear that the EU will use the same confiscation tactics as Cyprus if things get worse (which of course they will):
Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.
The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.
The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told the FT and Reuters that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.
Dijsselbloem tried to retract the statement after investors started panicking, but the damage is already done. Now the cat is out of the bag:
Translation: it now officially sucks to be an unsecured creditor in Europe. In other words: an uninsured depositor.
Why this ad hoc dramatic shift in the European approach to bank solvency, which if anything makes the link between bank and sovereign closer than ever, and crushes all that Draghi achieved in the summer of 2012?
Simple: because what Cyprus allowed was the effective usurpation of democracy - the only reason the Cypriot bailout “passed” (at least so far) is because it was structured as a bank restructuring, a financial system “resolution”, not a tax,and thus not in need of a parliamentary, democratic vote. Because as Cyprus also showed, votes to deprive depositors of cash, whether insured or uninsured, simply won’t fly.
Hence the shift.
However, there is a problem: it means that depositors are now fair game everywhere, and that the ESM or EFSF, with their unlimited scope but “democratic” impleention pathway, are on the backburner.
And now, the scramble to pull uninsured deposits out of banks everywhere begins. Thanks to the new Eurogroup head.
“You ask for miracles, Theo. I give you Diesel-BOOM”
And now, every European depositor is going to their local financial dictionary to look up the definition of General Unsecured Claims, only to see a picture of… themselves.
Simon Black at Sovereign Man blog tells readers to “Expect These Eight Steps From The Government’s Playbook“:
To anyone paying attention, reality is now painfully obvious. These bankrupt, insolvent governments have just about run out of fingers to plug the dikes. And history shows that, once this happens, governments fall back on a very limited playbook:
As Cyprus showed us, bankrupt governments are quite happy to plunder people’s bank accounts, especially if it’s a wealthy minority.
Aside from bank levies, though, this also includes things like seizing retirement accounts (Argentina), increases in civil asset forfeiture (United States), and gold criminalization.
Just another form of confiscation, taxation plunders the hard work and talent of the citizenry. But thanks to decades of brainwashing, it’s more socially acceptable. We’ve come to regard taxes as a ‘necessary evil,’ not realizing that the country existed for decades, even centuries, without an income tax.
Yet when bankrupt governments get desperate enough, they begin imposing new taxes… primarily WEALTH taxes (Argentina) or windfall profits taxes (United States in the 1970s).
This is indirect confiscation– the slow, gradual plundering of people’s savings. Again, governments have been quite successful at inculcating a belief that inflation is also a necessary evil. They’re also adept at fooling people with phony inflation statistics.
Governments can, do, and will restrict the free-flow of capital across borders. They’ll prevent you from moving your own money to a safer jurisdiction, forcing you to keep your hard earned savings at home where it can be plundered and devalued.
We’re seeing this everywhere in the developed world… from withdrawal limits in Europe to cash-sniffing dogs at border checkpoints. And it certainly doesn’t help when everyone from the IMF to Nobel laureate Paul Krugman argue in favor of Capital Controls.
Wage and Price controls
When even the lowest common denominator in society realizes that prices are getting higher, governments step in and ‘fix’ things by imposing price controls.
Occasionally this also includes wage controls… though wage increases tend to be vastly outpaced by price increases.
Of course, as any basic economics textbook can illustrate, price controls never work and typically lead to shortages and massive misallocations.
Wage and Price controls– on STEROIDS
When the first round of price controls don’t work, the next step is to impose severe penalties for not abiding by the terms.
In the days of Diocletian’s Edict on Prices in the 4th century AD, any Roman caught violating the price controls was put to death.
In post-revolutionary France, shopkeepers who violated the “Law of Maximum” were fleeced of their private property… and a national spy system was put into place to enforce the measures.
Despite being completely broke, governments will dramatically expand their ranks in a last desperate gasp to envelop the problem in sheer size.
In the early 1920s, for example, the number of bureaucratic officials in the Weimar Republic increased 242%, even though the country was flat broke from its Great War reparation payments and hyperinflation episode.
The increase in both regulations and government officials criminalizes and/or controls almost every aspect of our existence… from what we can/cannot put in our bodies to how we are allowed to raise our own children.
War and National Emergency
When all else fails, just invade another country. Pick a fight. Keep people distracted by work them into a frenzy over men in caves… or some completely irrelevant island.
It’s not a “tax.” It is government stealing money directly out of people’s bank accounts – money that was deposited AFTER taxes were already paid on it.
Socialism = theft, pure and simple. Christians who support Socialism need to go back study what the Bible has to say about debt, envy, and theft!
An 11th-hour deal with the EU, which has saved the Cypriot economy from the brink, will see investors with more than €100,000 in the nation’s largest banks forfeit a large chunk of their deposits.
The punishing deal – which has been approved by the eurozone finance ministers – will allow the country to receive the €10bn (£8.5bn) bailout it needed before the European Central Bank pulled funding and sent the island on the path to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the single currency.
Under the new agreement, all bank deposits under €100,000 will be secured and guaranteed by the state. The country’s second-biggest bank, The Popular Bank of Cyprus – known as Laiki – will be wound down whilst holders of deposits of more than €100,000 face big losses.
Big Brother Healthcare: Obamacare Includes Random Health ‘Inspections,’ Mandatory Reporting Of Your Health Stats To Gov’t
CVS employees were outraged recently to learn that they will be forced to turn over their weight information and submit to random health “inspections,” or be forced to pay higher premiums:
A new policy for employees of CVS Pharmacy will have them reporting their weight, body fat and other health metrics — or they can pay a fine that could add up to $600 each year. Privacy advocates are not happy about it.
According to the Boston Herald, Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of the advocacy group Patient Privacy Rights, said the increasing cost of health care will only make policies like this more common.
“Rising health care costs are killing the economy, and businesses are terrified,” Peel said. “Now, we’re all in this terrible situation where employers are desperate to get rid of workers who have costly health conditions, like obesity and diabetes.”
To ABC’s Good Morning America, Peel called the practice “technology-enhanced discrimination on steroids.”
According to reports, the new policy requires employees of the pharmacy to have a doctor record their weight, height, body fat, blood pressure, blood glucose and other measurement by May 1, 2014. If the employee opts out of providing this information, they would be fined an additional $50 each month for insurance, adding up to $600 per year. The Boston Herald reported CVS saying it would pay for these evaluations.
What most Americans don’t realize is this is the beginning for the “new normal” under Obamacare. CVS is the first, but they won’t be the last:
Starting in 2014, per the dictates of the federal government, your doctor must record your body mass index (BMI), which measures whether you are overweight, each time he or she treats you and turn it over to the government via your electronic health record, which every patient is required to have. Your BMI will then be tracked by the Health and Human Services Department, the agency rolling out ObamaCare, and a bevy of other state and federal agencies.
Shock and anger ensued this week as CVS employees learned that if they didn’t turn over that information to their insurers, they’d be fined. But CVS is merely rolling out what may become one of the most controversial aspects of ObamaCare a little ahead of schedule.
One needs only to look to Europe to see how our political elites will use ObamaCare, and the BMI weight measure they are so determined to record for each of us, to intrude into and regulate not just our health care, but our lives.
In the U.K., overweight patients or those who smoke are branded “undeserving” and denied treatments like cataract surgery (without which they could eventually go blind) and knee and hip surgery, leaving some who don’t qualify for the surgery in agonizing pain. Some of the U.K.’s “trusts,” which regulate the national health care system for various zones of the country, go farther, denying all operations to those who don’t meet the government’s weight dictates except for lifesaving surgery on their hearts, brains or to remove cancer.
A recent study shows that a majority of the U.K.’s doctors think the national health system should go farther still and deny all non-emergency care to patients who don’t meet certain weight and health criteria. By law, they still must pay for their health care, of course, even though they are denied the ability to get treatment.
Given all of this, it is chilling that the collection of each patient’s BMI was so important to U.S. Health and Human Services that it was one of the first directives the department issued after ObamaCare passed in 2009. There is a reason for that.
It is clear that liberal elites and the Obama administration intend to take Americans down the same path as Europe. The apparatus to handle federally mandated “health interventions” into people’s lives is already being put in place.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended that all obese adults receive “intensive counseling in an effort to rein in a growing health crisis in America” and that they have “intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions.” According to the Los Angeles Times, these apparently will involve 12 to 26 counseling sessions a year with a physician or community-based program.
In the new health care regime that is coming under ObamaCare, each citizen will be reduced to a single, all-important series of numbers -height, weight, BMI, glucose levels – that tell the government all it needs to know about whether an individual is practicing a healthy lifestyle.
If we follow Europe’s lead, Americans’ weight will soon become the pretext for the government to intrude into and regulate many aspects of our lives through ObamaCare, regulations, and taxation.
In exchange for “free” healthcare, the government takes away your privacy, your freedom, and your access to any care the ruling class deems you “unfit” for.
It’s been three years since Obamacare was rammed down our throats, and damage is already apparent, even before it is fully implemented.
Over one-third of the 9.1 million full-time jobs among America’s diverse business franchises could be cut back or eliminated by Obamacare as small businesses struggle to maintain profitability while coughing up money to pay for Washington-mandated health care coverage, according to the International Franchise Association.
John Merline at Investors Business Daily lists other nasty features that are finally coming to light:
Cause premiums to skyrocket. In December, state insurance commissioners warned Obama administration officials that the law’s market regulations would likely cause “rate shocks,” particularly for younger, healthier people forced by ObamaCare to subsidize premiums for those who are older and sicker.
“We are very concerned about what will happen if essentially there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
That same month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said ObamaCare will likely cause premiums to double for some small businesses and individuals.
And a more recent survey of insurers in five major cities by the American Action Forum found they expect premiums to climb an average 169%.
Cost people their jobs. The Federal Reserve’s March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses “cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.”
Around the same time, Gallup reported a surge in part-time work in advance of ObamaCare’s employer mandate. It found that part-timers accounted for almost 21% of the labor force, up from 19% three years ago.
Meanwhile, human resources consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.
Tax the middle class. IBD reported in February that much of the $800 billion in tax hikes imposed by ObamaCare will end up hitting the middle class, including $45 billion in mandate penalties, $19 billion raised by limiting medical expense deductions, $24 billion through strict limits on flexible spending accounts, plus another $5 billion because ObamaCare bans using FSAs to buy over-the-counter drugs.
Republican Establishment Blames Social Conservatives, Tea Party For GOP Being Viewed As ‘Out Of Touch’
Hmmm…could it be that the reason people think the GOP is ‘out of touch’ is that they keep ignoring the American people’s concerns about massive debt, out-of-control spending, the erosion of constitutional liberties, and massive power-grabs like Obamacare?
Karl Rove has founded an organization for the specific purpose of bulldozing Tea Party candidates and replacing them with those hand-picked by the GOP establishment.
House Speaker Boehner has caved on Obamacare, illegal immigration, and a host of other issues, and even says that “trusts Obama completely.” WTH???
And he’s not the only one. Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have all waved the white flag on Obamacare.
The conservative base has been betrayed again and again by their own party. But who does the party blame for their losses? Their base!
I believe that the disappointing results for Republicans in the 2006 elections and probably the 2012 elections, as well, were in no small part attributable to frustrated conservatives staying at home.
The thinking among many conservatives has been that the party has consistently fallen short by failing to restrain the growth of the ever-expanding federal government and by failing to nominate sufficiently conservative presidential nominees. That is, if we would just nominate and elect Reagan conservatives and govern on Reagan principles, we would recapture majority status in no time.
The main opposing view — call it the establishment view — holds that Republicans need to accept that the reign of small government is over, get with the program and devise policies to make the irreversibly enormous government smarter and more energetic. In other words, Republicans need to surrender to the notion that liberalism’s concept of government has won and rejigger their agenda toward taming the leviathan rather than shrinking it.
I’d feel better if the ongoing competition between Reagan conservatives and establishment Republicans were the only big fissure in the GOP right now, but there are other cracks that threaten to break wide open, too. Our problems transcend our differing approaches to the size and scope of government and to fiscal and other economic issues.
Reagan conservatism is no longer under attack from just establishment Republicans; it’s also under attack from many inside the conservative movement itself. Reagan conservatism is a three-legged stool of fiscal, foreign policy and social issues conservatism. But today many libertarian-oriented conservatives are singing from the liberal libertine hymnal that the GOP needs to remake its image as more inclusive, more tolerant, less judgmental and less strident. In other words, it needs to lighten up and quit opposing gay marriage, at least soften its position on abortion, and get on board the amnesty train to legalize illegal immigrants. I won’t even get into troubling foreign policy divisions among so-called neocons, so-called isolationists and those who simply believe we should conduct our foreign policy based foremost on promoting our strategic national interests.
[...] I belong to the school that believes the Republican Party must remain the party of mainstream Reagan conservatism rather than try to become a diluted version of the Democratic Party. This does not mean Republicans can’t come up with creative policy solutions when advisable, but it does mean that conservatism is based on timeless principles that require no major revisions. Conservatives are champions of freedom, the rule of law and enforcement of the social compact between government and the people enshrined in the Constitution, which imposes limitations on government in order to maximize our liberties. If we reject these ideas, then we have turned our backs on what America means and what has made America unique. What’s the point of winning elections if the price is American exceptionalism?
Rush Limbaugh is calling the Republicans to task for their “blame the conservative base” mentality:
The Republican National Committee released earlier on Monday an “autopsy” of its 2012 election failures and pinned the blame on the party being out of touch with voters, particularly minorities.
Limbaugh said the opposite was true. “We are in touch with the founding of this country. We are in touch with the greatness in this country and its people,” the popular radio commentator said, according to Politico.
Limbaugh said that if the party moves away from championing values, such as traditional marriage, it will lose support among its base.
“If the party makes that [gay marriage] something official that they support, they’re not going to pull the homosexual activist voters away from the Democrat Party, but they are going to cause their base to stay home and throw their hands up in utter frustration,” Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh said it was party leaders who were out of touch with its own base.
Jonathon Moseley writes that the problem isn’t conservative values, but a failure to effectively market them to a new generation:
The Republican Party is violating time-tested, basic principles of sales and marketing. That’s why the GOP is failing to communicate its messages. On Monday, the Republican National Committee released a massive reform strategy, whimsically labeled an “autopsy” or “reboot,” to completely overhaul the GOP. Like Democrats in 1992, Republicans are growing hungry to win in 2014 and 2016.
Here is what is wrong with the Republican Party. This author taught in a sales training seminar firm in Eastern Europe, International Trendsetters. The solutions are overwhelmingly time-tested and proven in real life. This is not theory. Republicans are chronically making classic rookie sales mistakes.
“FAB” — Features, Advantages, Benefits. You must explain how a policy benefits the voter. Bad salesmen talk about features – the radio has a better tuner. Good salesmen talk about how the radio benefits the customer – you will enjoy the music more and set a better mood for your love interest because it sounds better and clearer. People don’t buy a mattress. They buy a good night’s sleep. And maybe good décor.
On Monday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus explained that we must talk about how Americans benefit from low taxes and lower national debt. We have to talk about how Republican policies will put more people to work, at higher salaries, improve our economy, and strengthen our country. Republicans talk about details — lower taxes, lower regulations, lower deficits. We fail to explain why those details actually matter to the voter.
But isn’t it obvious? No. Classic rookie mistake. It’s obvious to you if you spend lots of time thinking about these things. It’s not obvious to busy people who have other things to think about, which they feel are more important in their lives. Yes, you have to draw them a map.
There is an imbalance between the speaker who is extremely familiar with a topic and the listener who isn’t. The speaker needs to understand how the speaker really sounds to the listener. Republicans skip over too many steps and assume too much. The American voters are smart. But they haven’t spent as much time thinking about your topic as you have. We have to be able to empathize with the busy listener and even remember how we were when we first learned about these issues.
It is amazing that the GOP has been so bad at this, when Ronald Reagan was so good at it. If anyone is thinking of running for office, Step #1 is to listen to every speech Ronald Reagan ever gave. Several times. Reagan “got” it. Then the GOP lost it.
Next, the mind abhors a vacuum. What you don’t say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. People have never stopped talking about cuts in education, even while education spending soars year after year. People will assume you want to help the rich by lowering taxes. They will assume you hate immigrants. They will assume you want women barefoot and pregnant. If you don’t explain how GOP policies benefit the listener, their minds will fill in the vacuum with other explanations. If you don’t provide a reason, their minds will provide one for you.
Third, love objections. This is one of the most powerful principles good salesmen know. We view objections with dread. A voter tells you why they don’t like the GOP. Time-tested sales techniques have proven that objections are opportunities. When a prospect tells you what he is concerned about, you now have the opportunity to address his or her concerns.
This is especially true when a voter believes something that isn’t true about Republicans — if they are willing to talk to you, that is. Proven sales experience shows that when someone is willing to tell you their negative views, and talk to you about it, you have an open door to dramatically turn around their perceptions.
Of course you have to treat them as a future friend, not as a current enemy. But the overwhelming majority of successful sales are closed after the third or fourth objection. That’s right, most sales succeed after not just the first negative response, but after several negative issues are raised and discussed. But you have to care about the other person as much as you care about yourself to answer their concerns fully, fairly, and respectfully.
Fourth, “ask for the order” as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus described on Monday. In other words, you have to show up. You are not going to win over any hearts or minds sitting in your office across the street from the Capitol South Metro station (the RNC headquarters). It is common sense that you have to go out and talk to Hispanics, Blacks, and other groups.
The GOP’s “outreach” efforts have often been embarrassing. Republican campaigns appoint leaders of, say, “Korean-Americans for Bush,” then order bumper stickers and campaign pins. And that’s about it. Pretending to be doing outreach, but not really, is a Republican specialty.
This will only end well for those who are prepared to take care of themselves and their families.
The Cyprus central bank decided to keep the banks closed until next Tuesday. The panic is building. This will build it even more.
The British media say the government is looking for Plan B. There is no Plan B.
There will be no tax on bank accounts, says the parliament.
Will there still be a bailout? The European Central Bank has said it will remove the life support tube on Monday. The head of the EuroGroup, which is a no-name committee of the eurozone’s finance ministers, said this: “I’m not sure that this package is completely gone and failed, because I don’t see many alternatives.” In short, “the Parliament had better reconsider.” Or else.
Or else what? Default? Cyprus’ departure from the eurozone? Do the Eurocrats want that? Do they want to risk a poster child for the PIIGS to imitate?
Meanwhile, panic builds. When the banks open their doors next week, they will face a true bank run. People now know: they cannot get their money. They never thought this could happen.
The central bank is playing kick the can. It is buying time. Maybe there will be a Plan B. Problem: if there is a Plan B, maybe the parliament will reject it. Then what?
A nation shuts down economically if its banks shut down. The banks can shut down in two ways: because of bank runs or by decree from the central bank. Today, the banking system has been shut down by decree.
The central bank cannot kick the can much longer. The economy will collapse without banks.
The British media are covering the story.
“We don’t have days or weeks, we have only hours to save our country,” Averof Neophytou, deputy leader of the ruling Democratic Rally party, told reporters as crisis talks in Nicosia dragged on into the evening.
The country’s two main banks – Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus – face potential failure if a bailout is not secured. One official told the Associated Press that Europe and the IMF were pressing for the two banks to be wound down. The Cypriot government was said to be considering the possibility of imposing capital controls amid fears that money would flood out of the country once its banks were reopened.
But if depositors cannot send their digital money out of the country, they can still demand currency. The effect is the same: bankrupt banks.
The central bank cannot print euros. It can bail out the system only if Cyprus pulls out of the eurozone. If it does, this will send a message to the PIIGS: “Get out. We did. Save yourselves. We did.”
Cyprus isn’t the only country facing serious fiscal consequences from unsustainable spending, unfunded liabilities and overwhelming debt.
Robert Romano explains “How the government will steal your savings under Dodd-Frank“:
The people of Cyprus care more about their life savings than propping up financial institutions that lost billions on poor investments in socialist governments’ debts. The idea that somehow they, and not the banks that made those decisions, should bear the brunt of those losses was always disconnected from reality.
Yet that is precisely the presumption the establishment has made — that rather than banks raising substantially more capital to address systemic risk, you and I should pay for bank bailouts — in response to the ongoing financial crisis that began in 2007, and has actually become the basis for such proposals considered all over the world, including the U.S.
In 2009, the G20 asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to come up with ways the financial sector might supposedly contribute to its own bailouts.
The IMF study released in 2010 essentially proposed two types of taxes: a levy on financial institutions to create a pool of bailout funds, and a financial transaction tax.
Interestingly, what the IMF came up with as a suggestion had already been implemented a few months earlier by the U.S. Congress in passing the Dodd-Frank so-called financial reform legislation.
Under Dodd-Frank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is allowed to charge assessments to about 60 bank-holding and insurance companies with $50 billion or more in assets to fund what is called an “orderly liquidation fund.” Really, it’s just a bailout fund allowing the government to take over systemically risky institutions, recapitalize them, and allow them to reenter the market under new management.
The law, as well as the IMF study, presumes that the financial sector will bear these costs. But as a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of a similar bank tax proposal by the Obama Administration at the time noted, “the ultimate cost of a tax or fee is not necessarily borne by the entity that writes the check to the government. The cost of the proposed fee would ultimately be borne to varying degrees by an institution’s customers, employees, and investors, but the precise incidence among those groups is uncertain.”
Meaning, the assessments would actually be passed on to and paid for by savers and consumers of financial products through the indirect taxation of higher bank fees and other financial transaction costs. Americans for Limited Government warned lawmakers about just such an outcome prior to the legislation’s passage as an affront to private property rights.
[...] At least in Cyprus the people’s representatives there actually had an opportunity to vote against such a levy. Whereas here, those fees are and will continue to be imposed by the banks with the blessing of government agencies — all without any vote in Congress.
It may happen sooner than anyone realizes. U.S. financial institutions are said to have as much $641 billion of exposure to financial institutions in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) according to the Congressional Research Service.
Should the Eurozone really break apart, and U.S. banks are caught in the crossfire, with the American people suddenly paying exorbitant fees for the “privilege” of conducting business electronically, they can decide for themselves whether this was a good idea.
That is, for Congress to outsource and give unlimited grant of its taxing authority to faceless bureaucrats acting in concert with an international banking cartel with the goal of bailing itself out of its own foolishness.
The especially painful parts of Obamacare were postponed until after the election, so voters wouldn’t know about them. Now Obama doesn’t have to face the voters again. Welcome to the new reality!
The Obama administration is planning new cuts to Medicare, a federal regulatory filing reveals, cuts that could mean higher premiums or seniors losing their coverage altogether.
The new cuts come in the form of a planned reduction in the reimbursement rates the government pays to insurance companies that operate Medicare Advantage plans, which are services administered by private for-profit or non-profit providers that offer additional services than can be found in traditional Medicare.
In a Feb. 15 regulatory filing, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the surprised rate cuts of 2.3 percent – meaning it would pay health care providers 2.3 percent less for providing services to patients.
Though Democrats denied it during the 2012 campaign, Obamacare cut Medicare by $716 billion in order to partially fund $1.9 trillion in new entitlement spending over the next ten years. A big chunk of those Medicare cuts came from the market-oriented Medicare Advantage program. Cleverly, the Obama administration postponed the Medicare Advantage cuts until after the election, so as to persuade seniors that everything would be just fine. But the election is over. On Friday, the administration announced that it would be significantly reducing funding for the popular program. Obama’s proposal, according to one analyst, “would turn almost every plan in the industry unprofitable.
Democrats have long been hostile to the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to get their Medicare coverage through plans administered by private insurers. Today, more than a quarter of retirees get their coverage through Medicare Advantage, and the program has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. Richard Foster, the recently-retired chief actuary of the Medicare program, has projected that Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage would force half of its current enrollees to switch back to the old, 1965-vintage Medicare program. Robert Book and James Capretta estimate that this will cost enrollees an average of $3,714 in 2017 alone.
The “Affordable Care Act” is anything but…and it’s the most vulnerable who are hit hardest.