This is How you Affect Political Change

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Former IRS official Lois Lerner has done it again. Nine months after she first pleaded the Fifth before the House Oversight Committee, Lerner again refused to reveal what she knows about the IRS’s targeting of conservative political groups. If there isn’t a smidgen of corruption to the IRS’s targeting of conservatives, then there is no reason for Lois Lerner to plead the Fifth. There shouldn’t be anything incriminating at all in her testimony.

This is what’s in the balance: your ability to organize for the political causes you care about, without being harassed and destroyed by the IRS. It’s about being able to speak truth to power, as Dr. Ben Carson did at the National Prayer Breakfast when he called out President Obama, without being targeted for expensive IRS audits as a form of political retaliation. Your freedom and your ability to affect change politically are on the line.

This week, I’m asking you to take a stand. We’re looking to raise $50,000 in our money bomb to win five Senate races.

We’ve stayed out of the GOP civil war, targeting Senate races where we can flip Democratic seats without risking Democratic gains. If we’re ever going to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal, and hold Lois Lerner and her bosses accountable for their actions, 2014 is critical. From the NSA spying scandal, to the IRS’s targeting of conservatives who speak out and oppose President Obama, this election will determine the future course of our country.

Taking out Barack Obama begins in Congress, and ending his foreign and domestic policy disasters begins by flipping the Senate. Your donation is critical to helping us achieve this, and to defending our ability to change Washington, D.C.’s crony corruption culture in 2014 and beyond.

Click here to donate even $1.00

Please know that your money goes towards defeating Democrats in the Senate. It does not go to sling mud in counterproductive efforts elsewhere. We’re focused on winning the Senate. We’re focused on beating the liberal left, and destroying Barack Obama’s power. Donate today, and help achieve the goal of a Senate under Republican control to end Obama’s obstruction and restore accountability.

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ObamaCare the Predator; Victimizes Medicare

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To fund Obamacare, current and future Medicare payments have been cut substantially – and as a result, 30% of Medicare Advantage recipients across the country will face rate hikes as high as $90/month, lose benefits, and may even lose their doctors. Much like the millions of cancelled plans and premium hikes that have already happened to us, the Democrats completely own this debacle. We must put an end to these policies by electing a Senate Republican Majority that can put an end to the Obama agenda.

You’ve heard this story before:

Democrats make promises about Obamacare. Those promises later fall to pieces. Senate Democrats are left to explain whether they didn’t know the details of what they supported, or if they simply lied to voters.

This time, it is Medicare recipients who fall victim to ObamaCare.

Contribute here to Take Back the Senate!

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Obama VS. Putin?

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By
contributing writer: Nancy Doyle

Every time I hear a news report seemingly describing Obama and Putin as “at odds” it makes me cringe. Remember President Obama leaning over to Dmintry Medvedev, then President of Russia just prior to the 2012 American election? He proclaimed to Dmitry on a hot microphone; “Tell Vladimir I’ll have more latitude after the (2012) election”. More alarming was the disinterest the media seemed to show regarding this. There was no demand for explanation from Obama. No one screaming on the White House lawn at the President “What did you mean, Mr. President?” “What was it you needed more latitude for, Mr. President?

Imagine if that had been Reagan, Bush 41 or 42? Secret service would have had formed a riot gear barrier to keep the press away. It would have been a mob scene! But nobody asked him about that.

Now, fast forward to today and where does the United States stand on the world stage? Putin, a steely-eyed macho strutting, bare chested, KGB operative is the world’s statesman? Everything that Putin wants, Obama lets him have. Obama and the US looks weak, Putin looks dominant.
It’s reminiscent of a pit bull and a toy poodle, and Obama is not the pit bull! Putin barks, Obama shows his neck. Obama removed the missiles out of Turkey, mark a win for Putin. Syria is gassing it’s population, Putin is moved into the position of “peace maker” by Obama. Syria has not turned over its chemical weapons, another win for Putin. Iran is dangerously close to developing a nuclear weapon, another Putin ally, and the United States sits by while Obama continues to gut, slash and burn our military capabilities. Big win for Putin. Putin is so emboldened he is lining troops and massive amounts of weaponry along the border of Ukraine. Meanwhile John Kerry (AKA “ Lurch”) puts out a “stern” warning to Putin; “ There will be “grave consequences” if Putin doesn’t respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. Yeah, like he respected Poland’s? I say all of this saber rattling back and forth between Obama and Putin is pure theater for American consumption. If you look between the lines, Putin and Obama are best buds!

And that’s all I have to say about that!
Nancy Doyle, pontificator at large.

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Does A Power Grid Disaster Lurk?

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A sniper attack in April that knocked out an electrical substation near San Jose, Calif., has raised fears that the country’s power grid is vulnerable to terrorism. The upsetting thing is our power grids have been described as the third world of power grids and it doesn’t have to be.

The Mystery Assault on this California Power Grid Raises Alarms. The story reads like a movie script. It was a sniper attack in April where a military style attack by unknown subjects shot out 17 transformers, disabled cameras, and cut underground wires that knocked out an electrical substation near San Jose, Calif.,

It raised fears that the country’s power grid is vulnerable to terrorism. The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith wrote about the details first.

Photo: Talia Herman for The Wall Street Journal

These are the facts: It was an attack last April on an electric power station near San Jose, Calif.

Local California officials are calling this the work of vandals. However when you hear the rest of the facts you will see this attack is something far more dangerous. Whether it’s domestic terrorism or a trial run by an individual or an organization bent on damaging the nation’s electric grid; there’s no doubt in my mind. America is not ready for this kind of attack. It’s a vulnerability our government needs to address but politicians are blocking a bill that protects our power grids.

The Wall Street Journal, picked up an earlier report by Foreign Policy magazine, explored that question in a long account about what happened at PG&E Corp.’s Metcalf transmission substation, an event that has received little to no attention until now.

The top of the Journal’s story grabs your attention:

“The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables. “Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on a nearby electrical substation.

Then for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers by shooting them with AR15′s.

The 17 transformers funnel power to Silicon Valley. A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night. To avoid a blackout, electric-grid officials rerouted power around the site and asked power plants in Silicon Valley to produce more electricity. But it took utility workers 27 days to make repairs and bring the substation back to life.

According to Foreign Policy, which was less definitive about whether the attack was the work of more than one person, at least 100 rounds were fired from at least one high-powered AR15 rifle.

No one has been arrested in connection with the attack.

Demand your legislators vote yes on Bill 2417

HR Bill 2417 Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act

Who’s Spying On You?

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You carry it with you everywhere you go, but did you know your cell phone could be tracking your every move? Corporations are cashing in by knowing your whereabouts.

More than 140 million people are being tracked by their phones. HTC and Samsung phones come pre-loaded with software from the company carrier IQ.

More than 100 lawsuits in federal court claim the phones track the key strokes of text messages and internet searches. The lawsuits claim the software is the equivalent of a wiretap. The company says various types of data are collected for customer support reasons and to help troubleshoot problems with the network or the phone.

Other software, like Turnstyle Solutions, literally tracks every store you’re walking into. That company says it allows businesses to build profiles of their customers.

“They can tailor everything around what you want, what you’ve purchased in the past, what you do, what your favorite color is, whatever,” explained computer expert and owner of CPR Tools, John Benkert. “It’s a very big industry.”

Even the apps on your phones could be spying on you.

In December, the Federal Trade Commission settled with the makers of a flashlight app, after the agency said the app’s privacy policy was deceiving users into sharing their location and information with advertisers.

“They make money off of you and me and they make money off of the information,” said Benkert.

Consumers are finding there’s no protection from the federal government. In a December report, the Government Accountability Office found that no overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information. The GAO suggested that congress strengthen laws to protect consumers’ data.

“It’s a multi-billion dollar industry to sell people’s data. Some of it’s legit, some of it’s not legit,” said Benkert.

And you thought you had to worry about the NSA.

“The corporations are collecting much more information on us than NSA ever could,” Benkert told us.

So how do you stop this from happening? First of all, carefully read the prompts when you download an app and if you’re concerned, decline when they ask you if they can share your information.

Secondly, you can turn off the tracking feature on your phone, which is usually in the settings section. It’s not going to stop the tracking completely, but it will help.

Does Access to Insurance guarantee Access to Healthcare?

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What this administration hasn’t taken into consideration is that having access to health insurance doesn’t guarantee access to a doctor. Let’s look at California. Today’s headline news was about the effects of Obamacare on healthcare in California. This is what I learned so far:

When Blue Shield of California was designing the new health plans it would offer individuals under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or as it’s known to most as Obamacare, the insurer made a simple request to doctors and hospital in its network — lower your prices or get left behind. The insurer asked providers to accept reimbursement rates as much as 30 percent lower than what Blue Shield previously paid through plans sold on the individual market. Some providers got on board, but not all. According to the company, just 60 percent of the doctors and 75 of the hospitals that participate in the Blue Shield of California’s group plans will be included in individual plans purchased through Covered California, the state’s new insurance exchange. And among the providers who declined to accept the lower rates were some of the state’s most prestigious — and expensive — hospitals, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and hospitals affiliated with the University of California.

As millions of new ACA health plans begin in 2014 coverage consumers in some parts of the country, including California, will find that the plans offered under Obamacare give them access to fewer providers than their previous plans or those offered to Americans with job-based health insurance. Narrowing networks, promising select providers higher patient volume in exchange for lower reimbursement rates is nothing new, but as insurers compete on price in Obamacare’s new exchanges, avoiding expensive hospitals and doctors has new appeal, especially since insurers can no longer exclude sick people or charge them more. “Our goal was to provide affordable options for California consumers and there are few levers we have to get to an affordable price point,” says Steve Shivinsky, a spokesman for Blue Shield of California. “One of them is to ask the providers to contract with us at new rates and that led to smaller networks.”

A recent study suggests limited provider networks could become more common in the years ahead as the ACA takes hold. A Dec. 13 McKinsey study of 20 U.S. metropolitan areas found that two-thirds of ACA plans analyzed had “narrow” or “ultra narrow” networks, with at least 30 percent of top 20 hospitals excluded for coverage. The medium premium for plans with narrower networks, according to the study, was 26 percent lower than comparable benefit packages with broad networks.

“We’re very concerned with the impact that has on patients,” says Cedars-Sinai CEO Thomas Priselac, arguing that consumers shopping through California’s exchange will not have access to the world-renowned health care the hospital offers. Priselac says some insurers designing networks purely based on cost have replaced academic research institutions like Cedars-Sinai with lower-priced community hospitals that, in some cases, do not offer the same menu of services. Seattle Children’s Hospital, the top pediatric facility in northwest Washington state, and one of the most expensive, sued the state insurance commissioner in October after the hospital was excluded from the networks of some insurers selling plans under the ACA. The bottom line is under the new exchanges of the ACA in California there will be an average of 6,400 patients per doctor which makes for some very long waiting lines to get health care.

One of my greatest fears is what I’ve heard say before that “as goes California so goes the nation”

As an opponent of the ACA I hate to say it but I told you so.

The Financial Consequences of Obamacare on Americans

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Obamacare contains 18 specific tax hikes, mandates, or penalties that cost Americans money, and three new ones take effect in 2014. This is only the beginning—watch how two of these three taxes get worse in the years to come.

1. Individual Mandate Tax. The individual mandate is designed to strong-arm individuals into purchasing government-approved health insurance or facing a tax penalty. In 2014, the penalty for not purchasing insurance will be either $95 or 1 percent of annual income (whichever is greater). Very few, if any, people will end up paying just $95, because individuals with an annual income of only $9,500 or less would likely qualify for Medicaid or a hardship exemption from the mandate. The mandate increases drastically in coming years, rising to $325 or 2 percent of income in 2015, and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016—whichever is greater.

2. Health Insurer Tax. One of the largest tax increases in the law is an annual fee imposed on health insurers based on their share of the market. It is estimated to raise $8 billion in 2014 alone. The tax will more than likely be passed on to consumers through premium increases. An actuarial analysis by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman projects that in 2014, this tax will increase premiums by 1.9 percent to 2.3 percent. And the impact will be greater in later years as the tax increases.

3. Reinsurance Fee. This fee isn’t included in the list of 18 tax hikes, but it’s another one that will impact the cost of insurance. Health insurers will have to pay the temporary fee on group health plans to help spread the cost of the covering those in the individual market, inside and outside Obamacare’s exchanges. The fee begins in 2014, costing $63 per covered person and decreasing in 2015 and 2016. Like most taxes and fees, the result will likely be higher insurance premiums.

Sneak Peek at 2015: Employer Mandate. By law, the employer mandate was supposed to begin in 2014, but the Obama Administration delayed enforcing it until 2015. The employer mandate forces employers with 50 or more full-time employees (defined as those working 30 hours per week) to offer government-approved health coverage or pay a penalty. The penalty varies—either $2,000 per employee after the first 30 workers, or $3,000 per employee receiving subsidized coverage in the exchange, whichever is less.

Regardless of the delay, many businesses have already adapted by reducing hours for their employees—falling under the threshold to avoid both the cost of coverage and the penalty.

We need health reform that works for Americans—not against them. Here is a conservative alternative

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Does Registration Lead to confiscation of Guns?

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In SACRAMENTO, California (CBS13) — A new gun law coming in 2014 has gun owners stocking up on long guns before a new registry begins.

Even though the law is at least temporarily boosting his bottom line, Just Guns – owner John Deaser isn’t a fan. He says requiring people to register their rifles and shotguns is an unnecessary invasion of privacy. I would add its also a prelude to confiscation. See this video about how registration led to confiscation in Canada here.

In the last week of 2013, he says sales of long guns are up 30 to 50 percent.

The registry goes into effect on Jan. 1, and would require long gun owners to register their weapons like handgun owners already do. It would track the make, model and serial number of the gun, as well as the person who owns it.

Previously dealers would destroy personal information on long gun owners after a background check had been completed. Now they’ll register those purchases with the state.

Supporters of the new law say it will improve public safety and help keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Deaser says many of his customers are stocking up on long guns now rather than waiting until 2014 when they would have to register.

Read more: sacramento.cbslocal.com

Unemployment in America Today

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At Least 27 Million Americans are ‘Underemployed’

While the official unemployment rate last year was 8.1 percent, a far greater percentage of working-age Americans were “underemployed.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the underemployment rate in 2012 was 14.7 percent, amounting to 23.1 million people.

Underemployed Americans include those who are officially considered unemployed, plus involuntary part-time workers and “marginally attached” workers — those who have not looked for work within the last four weeks but have sought a job within the last year and are available for employment.

About 2.5 million people were marginally attached workers last year, and 8.1 million were involuntary part-time workers.

As troubling as that may be, the actual figures are likely much worse, according to a report by Wendell Cox for NewGeography.com.
For instance, Gallup estimated that the nation’s underemployment rate stood at 17.4 percent in August, meaning that there are more than 27 million underemployed workers.

Also, economists at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity have estimated that 48 percent of college graduates who are employed hold jobs that do not require a college degree. These are not included in the underemployment figures. If they were, the underemployment rate would soar.

Nevada had the highest underemployment rate during the year ending on June 30, 19 percent, followed by California with 18.3 percent. The lowest rates were in North Dakota at 6.2 percent and South Dakota, 7.8 percent.

“The productivity gap that results from underemployment constrains the U.S. economy at a time of unusually severe financial challenges,” observes Cox, visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris and the author of “War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life.”

“College graduates face not only a grim employment market, but have student loan repayments that require good jobs,” he adds.

“Yet things could get worse. The soon to be implemented Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has a built-in incentive for employers to shift workers to part-time status” or to hire part-time workers to avoid the mandate to provide health insurance to full-time workers.

Infrastructure Spending Won’t Produce New Jobs

President Barack Obama and prominent members of Congress have called for a significant boost in infrastructure spending on roads and bridges to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

But a new report from The Heritage Foundation asserts that those calls “misunderstand” the nature of infrastructure construction work.

“Infrastructure projects are capital intensive, not labor intensive,” James Sherk writes for the foundation.

Repair and replacement of traffic arteries require a relatively small number of highly skilled workers using advanced equipment, he points out.

Slightly more than 300,000 Americans nationwide work in highway, street, or bridge construction, and they comprise just two-tenths of a percent of all workers. So even doubling their numbers would have only a minor effect on overall employment.

The highly trained employees who work on infrastructure can require years of on-the-job training before they are fully trained. A structural ironworker, for example, needs three to four years and from 6,000 to 8,000 hours of training.

Therefore, few of the currently unemployed workers have the requisite skill and training to work on infrastructure projects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are only 13,500 unemployed cement masons, concrete finishers, and terrazzo workers in the entire nation.

“Additional infrastructure spending would consequently employ relatively few unemployed workers,” according to Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.

“Instead, federal construction contractors would hire the skilled workforce they need away from private construction projects,” he said. “New jobs created would come primarily at the expense of other jobs in the private sector.”

He concluded that the new spending called for by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and others “would do more to shuffle jobs around than reduce unemployment.”

Footnote: America’s infrastructure quality has actually improved significantly over the past two decades, and the number of structurally deficient bridges has fallen steadily since 1992.

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This Thanksgiving I Appreciate Gods Blessings

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A rich British homeowner, coming downstairs one morning overheard the cook in the kitchen say, “Oh, if I only had five pounds, I would be content.” She was a good worker, and he thought he would grant her wish. He walked into the kitchen and handed her a five pound note. She thanked him, and he left to go on about his day. But he paused outside the door to see if she would say anything else. Instead of expressing contentment, once she thought he was gone she said, “Why didn’t I say ten pounds?”

The idea that if we just had a little more we would be content and happy is one of the most successful lies Satan has ever used against God’s people. Contentment does not come from having more possessions, but from having more gratitude. There are some people with millions who are not content while there are others who don’t even have hundreds who are. An active and working faith chooses to trust that God knows and cares about our situation. Jesus said, “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:32).

Each time we complain about what we do not have, we are expressing our belief that we know what we need better than God. It is not wrong to ask Him for things—in fact He commands us to do so. The problem comes when we are not content with His answer. The tragedy of discontentment is that it renders us vulnerable to temptation and prevents us from realizing the abundance of blessings we have. If you are honest in evaluating what God has done for you, it won’t take long for you to begin rejoicing that He “daily loadeth us with benefits” (Psalm 68:19).

Today’s Proverbs Precept:
Faith trusts God to provide what we need and gives thanks for whatever He chooses to send our way.