Minimum Wage: West Virginia Democrats exempt themselves

February 28, 2014

500px-Flag_of_West_Virginia.svg

Weird, isn’t it? If having the state mandate higher and higher wages for everyone is such a good idea, why on Earth would WV House Democrats vote to exempt themselves from a law being imposed on everyone else?

Last week, the Democrat controlled House in West Virginia passed legislation raising the state’s minimum wage to $8.75 an hour, $1.50 higher than the federal minimum wage. The action is part of a nation-wide effort by Democrats to make a minimum wage increase central to their platform for the midterm elections. The increase didn’t effect all workers, though. Democrats exempted many of their own staff from the wage hike. Businesses may have to pay the higher wages, but the legislature will avoid many of the consequences. 

Why, it’s almost as if West Virginia Democrats didn’t believe in private what they were preaching in public.

But we all know that can’t be.

via reader Lance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood marketing BDSM to teens?

February 27, 2014
Teach the children

Teach the children

I’m pretty open-minded, but this is a bit much, even for me:

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE)–which received more than $2.75 million in government funding in 2012–has produced and posted online a video specifically aimed at teenagers that promotes bondage and sadomasochism (BDSM) and proposes “rules” to follow when engaging in these activities.

“People sometimes think that those who practice BDSM are emotionally scarred or were once abused—not true, it’s a total myth,” the host of the video, Laci Green, informs its intended audience of teens.

“BDSM relies upon and creates trust,” she says.

Lifestyle choices are, of course, within broad boundaries an adult’s private affair. But through the age of 18, teens are the legal responsibility of their parents; I have to wonder how many would be happy to discover Planned Parenthood encouraging their teens to explore “alternative lifestyles” under the guise of “sexual health.” And why is my (hypothetical) child’s sex life, which I should hope he or she didn’t yet have, the business of an abortion mill, anyway?

The other question I have, one that’s not hypothetical at all, is why my tax money is going to support this?

Video at the first link.

RELATED: This isn’t the first time the Left has been caught showing teens how to have safe, alternative sex. Warning, it’s pretty graphic.

via Doug Powers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare Chronicles: yet more flaming wrecks

February 26, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Jim Geraghty brings us more debris samples from the flaming wreckage that is Obamacare. You can read them for yourself, but here’s one of the best:

But perhaps Maryland’s mess looks good compared to Oregon, where the accusations of lying are piling up:

Carolyn Lawson, the IT expert who tried and failed to build Oregon’s online insurance exchange, complained to an Oregon Health Authority official that she was forced to leave under false pretenses in an email uncovered by the On Your Side Investigators.

Lawson emailed OHA chief operating officer Suzanne Hoffman in January to complain that a reporter had been given her personal cell phone number, and asked that the state “allow me to move on with privacy and grace,” after one of the worst health-care-exchange website launches in the nation left her career in tatters.

“I have done everything I have been asked to do,” Lawson wrote. “I stuck to the talking points even though I protested . . . that they were not accurate. I walked away quietly when asked to resign. I wrote the resignation letter per the script I was given.”



KATU Investigators recently uncovered major accountability issues on Lawson’s watch, and former Republican state representative Patrick Sheehan told KATU earlier this month that he’d gone to the FBI with allegations Cover Oregon project managers initiated the design of dummy web pages to convince the federal government the project was further along than it actually was.

Why do I have a feeling this one is going to end up in court, with Lawson (and probably several others) pleading to turn state’s evidence in return for a deal? Is it perhaps because a bill passed in a corrupt (1) manner can only leave corruption in its wake?

Excellent job, Democrats! You’ve earned every bit of what the public is going to give you in November.

Footnote:
(1) Ethically, if not legally.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


It’s a shame the UK doesn’t have a death penalty

February 26, 2014
Lee Rigby, victim of jihad

Lee Rigby, victim of jihad

For these two brave knights of Allah blood-crazed jihadis richly deserve it:

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were found guilty on 19th December 2013 of killing 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby, who had served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Adebolajo, 28, was sentenced to a whole life tariff.

Adebowale, 22, was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The pair were said to be shouting in the court room earlier, screaming “Allah hu Akbar” before they were removed by guards.

Judge Nigel Sweeney delayed sentencing in order to take account of a Court of Appeal ruling on the principle of jail terms for life.

Justice Sweeney said during the sentencing, “You have both gloried in what you have done.” He also stated that the two “butchered” Lee Rigby: “You, Adebolajo, concentrated on his neck. You, Adebowale, concentrated on his torso. What the two of you did resulted in a bloodbath”.

Adebolajo and Adebowale are Muslim converts who knew exactly what they were doing: waging jihad fi sabil Allah — “war for the sake of Allah” — in accordance with the Qur’an:

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost. 

These murderers took Drummer Rigby from his wife and two-year old child, but will themselves live for decades at the British taxpayer’s expense. Doesn’t seem like justice to me.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Asking for trouble: the Obama-Hagel defense budget

February 25, 2014
U.S. Navy, post-Obama

U.S. Navy, post-Obama

Long ago, the Roman writer Vegetius wrote perhaps the wisest thing anyone has ever written regarding war and peace:

“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

In other words, if your potential foes know you are strong, that you are willing to use force to defend your interests, and that they are not likely to win, then they will not pick a fight with you.

President Obama and his dullard Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, have evidently never read Vegetius:

Stating that a postwar environment was the time to do some shrinking, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a budget proposal Monday that reduces the Army to pre-World War II levels despite “a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.”

“Our force structure and modernization recommendations are rooted in three realities: first, after Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations; second, we must maintain our technological edge over potential adversaries; and, third, the military must be ready and capable to respond quickly to all contingencies and decisively defeat any opponent should deterrence fail,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon today.

You can read the details in Bridget Johnson’s article, but, quickly, the Army would be reduced to 450,000 soldiers, the Marine Corps to 182,000, the Navy would be kept at 11 carrier battle groups (unless further cuts are needed), and, among other cuts, the Air Force would eliminate its entire force of A-10 “warthog” ground-support aircraft. I’m sure infantrymen everywhere are thrilled with that one.

Hagel’s opening statement is nonsensical: in one breath he proposes devastating cuts to our military capabilities, while, in the other, he claims (rightly) that the world is growing “more volatile, more unpredictable,” and “more threatening.” When he claims this configuration will allow us to defend ourselves from foes by relying on high tech, he ignores his own assertion that the world is unpredictable. Who knew on September 10th, 2001, in the wake of the Clinton-era defense cuts, that we would find ourselves in a war that required liberating and occupying two nations? While we are leaving Afghanistan and have left Iraq (God help them), we are still at war with a transnational terror group waging holy war against us. What if they should take over another country as a base (Syria? Mali? Iraq, again?)?  Do we then shrug our shoulders and say “No can do?” What if North Korea decides to invade the South, again? Those A-10s will be sorely missed, I guarantee it.

Those are just two among the myriad possible threats we face as dictators grow emboldened by our feckless leadership. When Ronald Reagan launched our military buildup in the 1980s, it wasn’t just to have plenty of ships and tanks on hand, it was to demonstrate a will to resist the world’s tyrants, so that they would make no miscalculation. The Obama-Hagel defense cuts, on the other hand send just the opposite message, one of weakness and a lack of confidence, of opportunity for the enemy because this administration is renouncing our traditional role as guarantor of a liberal world order.

And it’s deliberate. In an essay that now seems truly prescient, Charles Krauthammer made it plain that, for an ideology that sees American power as a problem, not a solution, for the world’s challenges, decline is a choice, one made in sacrifice to the desire to turn the US into a gelded European social democracy:

This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There’s much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.

This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance–the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth. The Europeans, rich and developed, have almost no such capacity. They made the choice long ago to devote their resources to a vast welfare state. Their expenditures on defense are minimal, as are their consequent military capacities. They rely on the U.S. Navy for open seas and on the U.S. Air Force for airlift. It’s the U.S. Marines who go ashore, not just in battle, but for such global social services as tsunami relief. The United States can do all of this because we spend infinitely more on defense–more than the next nine countries combined.

Those are the conditions today. But they are not static or permanent. They require constant renewal. The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services–massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education–that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.

This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making “hard choices”–forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today’s urgencies and tomorrow’s looming threats.

That was in 2009, and now we’re seeing the inevitable product of that vast expansion of the welfare state. And the world is going to become much more dangerous because of it.

To paraphrase Vegetius, “If you want war, pretend your enemy wants peace.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Senator Rubio makes a fool out Senator Harkin over Cuba

February 25, 2014

This is truly a popcorn-worthy use of your time, my friends.

Background: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the leading progressives in the Senate, took a trip to Cuba recently. Perfectly legal, members of Congress can go on such fact-finding missions when they wish. The senator must have visited an alternate-Earth Cuba, however, because, when he came back, he had nothing but praise for the Communist dictatorship:

It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.

Cuba is a “poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable.”

This was all a bit much for Marco Rubio (R-FL), himself the son of Cuban refugees who had to flee the island to escape that wonderful health system, and so much else. (1) So, in a speech before the Senate, he proceeded to mop the floor with Harkin’s useful idiocy. From the Miami Herald:

This wasn’t some Cold War-era fulmination about Castro’s regime.

Rubio’s speech was about current events: the protests in Venezuela, the Maduro government and the ties it has with the Castros, who repress their own people and helped inspire the suppression in Caracas.

Venezuela is becoming the new Cuba.

For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his political career, speaking largely off the top of his head and with only the barest of notes. Rubio sometimes dripped with sarcasm or simmered with indignation as he made the case to Congress that the United States needs to continue Cuba sanctions and punish Venezuela.

Enjoy:

My only question is at what point did Harkin sneak out in embarrassment?

I know Rubio has lost his luster with conservatives because of his support for the Senate immigration bill last year. Indeed, he’s fallen well-off my own short list, as I came to question his judgment. But, in this speech on Cuba and Venezuela, on the fecklessness of the Obama administration’s policy in the region, and the fatuousness of Castro apologists such as Tom Harkin, all I can say is “Viva, Marco!”

RELATED: More at Hot Air.

Footnote:
(1) If you want to read one of the best books about what life under the Castro brothers has really been like, I recommend Armando Valladares’ memoir, “Against All Hope.” I’m tempted to send Tom Harkin a copy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What would you think if #Obamacare were killing your mother?

February 24, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

For Stephen Blackwood, that horrifying possibility is not hypothetical.

Mr. Blackwood’s mother was diagnosed with cancer at age 49 in 2005. She needs the drug Sandostatin to have a fighting chance at survival. Though her policy with BlueCross/Blue Shield was expensive, it met her needs for a very expensive treatment, paid for the drug, and let her see any physician she needed. She and her family were satisfied with it.

Then along came Obamacare, and Mr. Blackwood’s mother lost her insurance. I’ll let him take the story from here:

The repeated and prolonged phone waits were Sisyphean, the competence and customer service abysmal. When finally she found a plan that looked like it would cover her Sandostatin and other cancer treatments, she called the insurer, Humana, to confirm that it would do so. The enrollment agent said that after she met her deductible, all treatments and medications—including those for her cancer—would be covered at 100%. Because, however, the enrollment agents did not—unbelievable though this may seem—have access to the “coverage formularies” for the plans they were selling, they said the only way to find out in detail what was in the plan was to buy the plan. (Does that remind you of anyone?)

With no other options, she bought the plan and was approved on Nov. 22. Because by January the plan was still not showing up on her online Humana account, however, she repeatedly called to confirm that it was active. The agents told her not to worry, she was definitely covered.

Then on Feb. 12, just before going into (yet another) surgery, she was informed by Humana that it would not, in fact, cover her Sandostatin, or other cancer-related medications. The cost of the Sandostatin alone, since Jan. 1, was $14,000, and the company was refusing to pay.

The news was dumbfounding. This is a woman who had an affordable health plan that covered her condition. Our lawmakers weren’t happy with that because . . . they wanted plans that were affordable and covered her condition. So they gave her a new one. It doesn’t cover her condition and it’s completely unaffordable.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Blackwood’s mother, in order to receive the treatment she needs, has to somehow come up with $14,000 on her own. Her case is currently on appeal with Humana.

And the next time…?

Apologists for the law will of course blame Humana, and, to be sure, I do not excuse them. The incompetence is infuriating, bordering on the Kafkaesque.

Still, none of this would be happening without that anti-constitutional monstrosity of  a law, which the Democratic Party shoved down the throat of a nation that did not want it, that was mostly satisfied with the insurance it had, and wanted them instead to deal with the economic crisis we were then facing.

But the progressives who knew so much better than we what we needed had other plans in mind, and so Stephen Blackwell’s mother now faces the very real, very frightening possibility that she will not be able to find insurance to cover the treatment she needs to stay alive, or that she might have to beggar herself and her family to get it.

Or do without.

Via Roger Kimball, whose final paragraph is worth quoting:

You won’t find chilly, insulated elites like Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama admitting it, but the blood of Mrs. Blackwood and millions of other Americans harmed by their thoughtless legislation is on their heads. Obamacare is a totalitarian scheme masquerading as a humanitarian enterprise.  Its human cost is incalculable, but already, just a few months in, we’re beginning to get a sense of the suffering it will cause.  When your treatment for cancer is disallowed, when your daughter cannot get the medicine she needs, when your mother’s insurance is cancelled, will you still go gently into that good night of liberal sanctimony? Or will you finally realize that when Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” this might not have been the beneficent program The New York Times and other such outlets led you to believe?

The Democrats deserve every bit of electoral hell coming their way, and so much more.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)