Friday, March 20, 2015

The disgusting Leftist media again -- campaigning hard against the Prime Minister of Israel  -- but Bibi had the last laugh

MSNBC Denounces Netanyahu as a 'Panicking' 'Racist'

Reporting live from Tel Aviv and campaigning hard against the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on her MSNBC show on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell invited on one guest after another to denounce the Likud party leader.

Turning to New York Times Tel Aviv bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, Mitchell declared of Netanyahu: "He's clearly fearing that this center-left coalition and the prominence of, for the first time, a united Arab voting policy, Arab-Israelis who can vote, might make a difference."

Rudoren replied: "This morning he posted on his Facebook a video saying that Arabs were flocking to the polls and he called on right-wing supporters to come out and block them. And the left came and said that that was a racist remark, sort of comparing it to suppressing African-American votes in the United States. So it's been a very provocative and ugly last few days..."

Moments later, Mitchell spoke to former Congresswoman and president of the liberal Wilson Center Jane Harman:

Let's talk about what Netanyahu has done in the last forty-eight hours, which is to reverse decades and decades of U.S./Israeli policy, which is negotiations towards a two-state solution. A Palestinian homeland and of course Israel. And by reversing that, if he sticks – let's say he wins – and he sticks with his commitments of the last forty-eight hours, there'll be hell to pay.

Harman said of the Jewish leader: "I would call it a Hail Mary pass."

In a separate segment later on the program, Mitchell brought on former Israeli General Danny Yatom and touted his opposition to Netanayhu: "You are one of more than a hundred retired generals who came out against Netanyahu because you don't think that his positions are good for security....You just said to me he's panicking."

Yatom argued: "Yes, it looks to me that he feels as if the polls that were published until two days ago are real, realistic, and that he's going to lose....So it looks as if I don't have any other explanation but to say that probably he's caught in panic."

Mitchell then teed up James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute: "I know that you've been a long proponent of having a two-state solution....What is going to be the reaction in the Palestinian community – let's say that Netanyahu is elected or is in part of a unity government, a coalition government – to the end of any hope of having their own state?"  Zogby ranted:

"In the animal kingdom there's nothing more dangerous than a panicked politician and Netanyahu is panicking. And so he's scaring people about foreign conspiracies, about security threats, and about the Arabs. And if you take his words about the Arab vote and translate it into American politics and call it "the black vote," you see how racist this is. And it's – it's, I think, a very difficult problem right now for Israel is to deal with this bigotry towards the Arab population, which is just 20% of the country"


Not a quote but maybe a thought


The courts will again strike down attempts by the FCC to regulate the internet

It's just another attempt by the Obama administration to do an end-run around Congress

This FCC Title II legal case and process is an obvious mess. It is the functional legal equivalent of a parent getting caught doing something wrong and then scolding an inquisitive child with “because I say so” answers — over and over again.

In a nutshell, the FCC’s core purpose for asserting Title II authority is to permanently ban any price/compensation for edge downstream Internet service, which is illegally confiscatory. And the FCC’s Title II legal case is built upon de facto claims of legal immunity to disregard due process, the law, facts, definitions, precedents, fair notice, reliance interests and proportionality.

Simply the FCC seeks an illegal end via multiple illegal means, and serial sweeping “Chevron Deference” to evade legal and constitutional accountability. Multiple wrongs do not make a right.

The rest of this analysis will answer three questions central to anticipating the likely legal outcome of the FCC’s assertion of Title II authority. How could this FCC legal charade happen? Why is the FCC’s core purpose illegal? And what are the FCC’s Title II serial ends-justify-the-means violations of due process?

How could this FCC legal charade happen?

This is actually not the third, but the FCC’s fourth proposed legal theory to assert direct authority to regulate the Internet. The first three cases, by three different FCC Chairman and their General Counsels — Martin in 2008, Genachowski in 2010, and Wheeler initially in early 2014 — all decided that Title II reclassification was not likely a legally sustainable source of FCC authority.

The first two legal cases failed in court, Chairman Martin’s in Comcast v. FCC in 2010, and Chairman Genachowski’s in Verizon v. FCC in 2014.

Many forget that the third proposed FCC legal case was Chairman Wheeler’s in February of last year.

In response to the FCC’s loss in Verizon v. FCC, FCC Chairman Wheeler stated February 19, 2014 that the FCC would not appeal and would accept the Court’s “invitation by proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among Internet traffic…” under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Thus Chairman Tom Wheeler and his General Counsel Jonathan Sallet originally did not believe that Title II reclassification was a legally sustainable legal alternative to solve the FCC’s net neutrality legal authority problem. In late April 2014, FCC Chairman Wheeler continued to reject Title II reclassification as a source of FCC legal authority in his proposed draft NPRM for his fellow commissioners’ review.

However, after a widely-reported lobbying campaign for Title II reclassification of broadband, the FCC passed an NPRM 3-2 in May 2014, which included consideration of Title II reclassification as a potential source of FCC legal authority.

In a November 2014 public call for FCC regulation of the Internet as a utility, President Obama publicly and specifically urged: “I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act,” which is exactly what the FCC majority dutifully voted to do February 26th.

Simply, the FCC decided to reclassify the Internet as “telecommunications” not based on its independent, objective, expert legal opinion, but based on outside political pressure.

Here is the crux of my 90% confidence that the FCC’s legal case will crumble under scrutiny in court.

The FCC’s decision to reclassify is wholly predicated on the FCC political imperative (or “end”) to find some new assertable FCC legal authority to ban paid prioritization or fast-lanes (i.e. economically impose a permanent “price of zero” for edge downstream traffic without cost recovery). That’s because Verizon v. FCC (page 60) ruled that the FCC did not have authority under Section 706 “to impose per se common carrier obligations.”

Political pressure to turn currently-illegal zero-price regulation into legal anti-discrimination regulation without the involvement of Congress or new legislation, created immense political pressure for FCC lawyers to justify using most any “means” necessary to justify the desired political “end.”

Thus whenever the FCC encounters a fact, definition, precedent, law or constitutional principle that contradicts or thwarts the FCC’s desired end, the FCC serially dismisses them with claims of agency discretion allowed by various court precedents.

However, the FCC’s expectation of deference in this case is so cumulatively serial and sweeping — in reversing a plethora of legally-settled findings of fact, definitions, precedent, law and constitutional interpretation — that a court could ask sarcastically what role the FCC believes remains for the Judicial Branch to adjudicate?

Much more HERE  (See the original for links)


Obamacare’s Second Open Season: Average Premium Up 23 Percent – After Subsidies

With enrollment data through February 22, the administration finally declared Obamacare’s second enrollment season closed and released its report on the results. (Although, people who have to pay Obamacare’s mandate/penalty/fine/tax as a result of information disclosed in their 2014 tax returns will have a special open enrollment in April).

Obamacare’s supporters cheered that enrollment hit 11.7 million people, exceeding the low-ball estimate of 9.1 million the administration made last November. Lost in the enthusiasm for Obamacare’s new high-water mark are a few uncomfortable facts.

First, the average premium — net of subsidies — has jumped 23 percent from 2014. In both years, insurers covering almost nine in ten Obamacare subscribers received subsidies to reduce premiums. The average monthly premium, before insurers receive subsidies, across all “metal” plans, is $364 in 2015. The average subsidy is $263, resulting in a net premium of $101 (Table 6). In 2014, the administration reported an average premium of $346, less an average tax credit of $264, for a net premium of $82 (Table 2). Therefore, the gross premium increased 5 percent but the subsidy declined by a scratch. Due to the power of leverage, this resulted in subscribers seeing an average premium jump of 23 percent.

Second, Obamacare continues to “churn” peoples’ insurance coverage. Like last year, we can expect a significant share of this year’s 11.7 million enrollees will never pay a premium, often because they will receive employer-based coverage if they move up in the world, or fall into Medicaid dependency if they drop.

For the states using, only 4.2 million of the 8.8 million 2015 enrollees were enrolled at the end of 2014. After Obamacare’s first open season closed, the administration reported that 5.4 million of the 8.1 million enrollees had signed up through (Table 1). (That figure was later revealed as somewhat contaminated by the inclusion of standalone dental plans.).

So, over one fifth of those who were enrolled by April 2014 had vanished from Obamacare by February 2015. Maybe some of them did re-enroll for 2015: Someone could have signed up in April 2014, dropped out during 2014 and signed up again this time around. This fragmentation of coverage in working and lower middle-class households is surely frustrating to them and harms the quality of care.

Third, a loss for the administration in the Supreme Court’s King vs. Burwell lawsuit will deal a mortal blow to Obamacare. This is the lawsuit asserting what the Administration is paying out of subsidies to insurers in state-based exchanges is illegal. Of the 11.7 million new enrollees, 8.8 million enrolled through and only 2.8 million through state exchanges. The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision by July. If the administration loses, three quarters of Obamacare beneficiaries will be in states in which insurers lose their subsidies. To resolve the resulting inequity between states, Congress will have to respond with amendments to the Affordable Care Act that President Obama will sign.

Third, Obamacare subscribers are less satisfied with their plans than beneficiaries of other government or private health plans are:

The 29 percent of re-enrollees who switched plans is higher than that seen in other programs. For example, studies show approximately 13 percent of Medicare Part D enrollees change plans in a given year; 12 percent of those active employees with Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan coverage switch plans each year and only about 7.5 percent of those with employer sponsored coverage switch plans for reasons other than a job change during a given year. (p. 6)

Fourth, both the Obamacare subsidies and the Affordable Care Act’s big increase in Medicaid spending are higher than necessary to get people covered. Although the average net premium jumped 23 percent, subscribers were nevertheless willing to pay up for a higher level of coverage. While 77 percent of the 7.65 million subsidized subscribers who used could have bought plans for less than $50, only 38 percent did. While 89 percent could have bought plans for less than $100, only 63 percent did (Table 7). Obamacare subscribers have enough discretionary income to pay for health insurance and need not be so dependent on taxpayers.

This is strikingly apparent among low-income households, which are eligible for Medicaid in states that chose to expand that type of welfare. (Medicaid is a joint state-federal welfare program that provides health coverage.) Table 5 (page 14) shows the income distribution of households enrolling in Obamacare, broken down into states that did or did not expand Medicaid.HA

Two cells are highlighted: Households between 100 percent and 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in states that expanded Medicaid dependency, and those that did not. Many of the latter would be in Medicaid if their states had expanded the program. In such states, only 47 percent of Obamacare enrollees are within this income range, versus only 22 percent in states that expanded Medicaid. This indicates that Medicaid expansion has trapped people into complete government dependency for health care, who would be able to buy private health insurance with some government subsidy.

Despite a successful headline number of subscribers, Obamacare is still deeply flawed.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)


Seattle Eateries Are Dying and Minimum Wage Killed Them

It’s just going to be that much harder to get some authentic Seattle salmon. Due to the city’s minimum wage hike that’s set to slam the city April 1 (April Fools!), Seattle restaurants are closing because they can’t pay workers the $15 an hour minimum wage.

Seattle Magazine reports, “Washington Restaurant Association’s [Anthony] Anton puts it this way: ‘It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.’ He estimates that a common budget breakdown among sustaining Seattle restaurants so far has been the following: 36 percent of funds are devoted to labor, 30 percent to food costs and 30 percent go to everything else (all other operational costs). The remaining 4 percent has been the profit margin, and as a result, in a $700,000 restaurant, he estimates that the average restaurateur in Seattle has been making $28,000 a year.”

While restaurants are not the economic lifeblood of any city, a city without good food is tasteless. This is a tangible example of what’s happening to Seattle’s economy with a government-mandated wage.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog

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