Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Hillary on the brink of collapse
I hope this is true. She is an utter fraud and a scumbag but people can be gullible
A PASSAGE from Ernest Hemingway fits the moment. In “The Sun Also Rises,” one character asks, “How did you go bankrupt?” and another responds: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
The exchange captures Hillary Clinton’s red alert. She’s been going politically bankrupt for a long time, and now faces the prospect of sudden collapse.
If she’s got a winning defence, she better be quick about it. The ghosts of scandals past are gaining on her and time is not on her side.
The compelling claims that she and Bill Clinton sold favours while she was Secretary of State for tens of millions of dollars for themselves and their foundation don’t need to meet the legal standard for bribery. She’s on political trial in a country where Clinton Fatigue alone could be a fatal verdict.
After 25 years of corner-cutting and dishonest behaviour, accumulation is her enemy. Each day threatens to deliver the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It may already have happened and we’re just waiting for public opinion to catch up to the facts.
Meanwhile, her Houdini skills are being tested big time.
Hillary’s one big advantage is obvious — she’s the only serious contender for the Democratic nomination, and she beats most GOP opponents in head-to-head match-ups. But everything else weighs against her, including momentum.
Start with the fact that the sizzling reports of corrupt deals are coming from major news organisations that reliably tilt left. With supposed friends making the case against her, the tired Clinton defence that the attacks are partisan hit jobs has been demolished.
And after digging up so much dirt, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Reuters, Bloomberg News and others are not likely to be content with stonewalling and half-truths, especially given her recent lies about missing e-mails. No wonder the Times editorial page called on her to provide “straightforward answers” to the accusations.
I don’t see how she can meet that test. The outlines of cozy relationships and key transactions are not in dispute. The only issue is whether the millions the Clintons got amount to a quid pro quo.
On the face of it, that’s certainly what they look like. There are several deals we know of, and more could emerge, that put money in the Clintons’ pockets while helping businesses, including some loathsome international figures, make a killing. It is preposterous to argue that it’s all a coincidence.
Her position was further undercut when the family foundation announced it would refile five years of tax returns. In one three-year period, it omitted tens of millions in foreign contributions, reporting “zero” to the IRS. In another two-year period, it admitted to overreporting government grants by more than $100 million.
A foundation aide described the errors as “typographical,” which is bizarre — and par for the Clinton course. To concede the errors during the firestorm must mean keeping them quiet was an even greater liability.
Sooner rather than later, Hillary will have to meet the press — but what can she possibly say to alter the storylines?
If history is a guide, she’ll insist she did nothing wrong, offer ambiguous answers to specific questions, take offence at persistent reporters and end by playing the victim. She’ll follow up with a fundraising pitch for money to keep “fighting for everyday Americans.”
To imagine that scenario is to realise it won’t fly, but I’m not sure what other options she has. She can’t tell the truth. It will sink her.
Nor can she credibly demand to be trusted, given her past. A recent Quinnipiac poll finds 54 per cent of Americans already say Clinton is not honest or trustworthy.
Swing-state surveys show similar lopsided findings and each new sordid revelation will deepen the trust deficit. At this point in her life, it would take a near-miracle to change people’s basic view of her.
Her best hope is that a missing ingredient remains missing — a Democrat who could take the nomination from her, the way Barack Obama did in 2008. None of those already in the race or committed to it — Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, even Joe Biden — comes close to measuring up.
The only possible rival who does is Elizabeth Warren, the fire-breathing senator from Massachusetts. Gender aside, she is everything Hillary isn’t — an anti-Wall Street conviction populist with a record to match her rhetoric.
A movement to draft her started before Hillary hit the fan, so Warren would begin with a built-in constituency. So far, though, she insists she’s not running. Then again, that also could change suddenly.
House, Senate Leaders Continue Fight Against Ambush Union Elections
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN), and Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today introduced legislation that will preserve long-standing union election procedures by safeguarding the right of workers to make informed decisions about union representation, ensuring the ability of employers to communicate with their employees, and protecting the privacy of workers and their families.
"Starting today, an ambush union election scheme will begin wreaking havoc on our nation's workplaces," said Chairman Kline. "Through his labor board, the president has endorsed new rules that will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy and safety of workers and their families. We promised that the fight against ambush elections wasn't over. That is why today I am pleased to join my House and Senate colleagues in introducing legislation that will rein in the board's unprecedented overreach, protect the rights of workers and employers, and preserve a fair union election process."
"The NLRB's ambush election rule forces a union election in a little as 11 days-before an employer and many employees even have a chance to figure out what is going on," said Sen. Alexander, chairman of the Senate labor committee. "Congress must act to stop this damaging rule, which sacrifices every employer's right to free speech and every worker's right to privacy-all for the sake of boosting organized labor."
"Unions and employers deserve a chance to make their case on unionizing," said Rep. Roe, "and employees deserve adequate time to consider the consequences of their decisions, but the ambush election rule unfairly rushes the decision-making process. The safeguards we are seeking to restore with these bills give employees the freedom to make an informed decision. It is unacceptable that the NLRB would force employers to disclose personal information, potentially opening the door for workers to be intimidated, threatened or coerced. Now, more than ever, we should be protecting the rights of workers, and my bill does just that by returning decision-making power to the employee and their families."
"The National Labor Relations Board continues to skew the playing field between management and labor," said Sen. Isakson. "I have been fighting against these unfair rulings by the NLRB since President Obama took office. This bill protects free speech and ensures that workers are afforded the opportunity to make informed decisions about their right to organize, while safeguarding their personal information and privacy. At a time when our economy and our middle class are trying to recover from a recession, the NLRB's ambush election policy is absolutely the wrong thing to do and I urge Congress to pass the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act to restore a level playing field."
BACKGROUND: The NLRB's rule - which went into full effect April 14 - shortens the length of time in which a labor union certification election is held to as little as 11 days. In 2014, more than 95 percent of union certification elections occurred within 56 days. Furthermore, the median number of days from petition to election was 38 days. These numbers surpass the performance goals set by the NLRB itself. The rule gives employers essentially no time to communicate with their employees before a union election and undermines the ability of workers to make an informed decision. In addition, it forces employers to provide employees' personal information to union organizers without employees' consent.
Five Years Later: ObamaCare Still Hurting America's Workplaces
From the House Committee on Education and the Workforce:
The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) today held a hearing to explore the consequences of the president's health care law on the five year anniversary of its enactment.
"Health care reform should have been an opportunity to preserve and build on what works with commonsense, market-based reforms that would expand access to more affordable coverage," remarked Rep. Roe. "Instead, a costly government takeover of health care was imposed on the American people, and five years later the law continues wreaking havoc on families, businesses, and even schools. It's hard to recall a time when supporters of a law promised so much and delivered so little."
During the hearing, witnesses expressed continued concern with the negative impact of the law on the nation's workplaces, including:
* Reduced Hours for Workers - [ObamaCare's] definition of full-time employee is having an adverse impact on both employers and employees . According to [the Society for Human Resource Management] SHRM's March research survey, 20 percent of SHRM members' organizations have already reduced part-time hours to below 30 per week or are planning to do so in the following year to comply with the ACA. - Sally Roberts, Director of Human Resources, Morris Communications Company
* Uncertainty for Employers - For the past several years we have operated in a constant state of unknown . It seems as soon as we have some clarity on an issue, we come to realize that it was only a temporary extension or that we were guided in the wrong direction to begin with . [We] have no idea what to plan for because we don't know what changes to legislation or regulations will bring next year or beyond. - Skip Paal, Society of American Florists
* Increased Health Care Costs - Although the [law] purports to lower health care costs for Americans, costs continue to rise for employers and employees alike. According to a recent survey, 77 percent of respondents said that their health care coverage costs increased from 2014 to 2015 . the [law's] current coverage requirements are increasing costs and restricting employer flexibility to offer a benefits package that best meets the needs of employees. - Sally Roberts, Director of Human Resources, Morris Communications Company
* Loss of Existing Health Care Coverage - We are facing a troubling cycle in the world of employer sponsored care . Some employers will exit the system, but we believe that more will look to make serious changes in approach. These employer based changes typically include more cost-sharing components . the cost sharing then impacts the affordability of health care for employees, who will become unsatisfied with their employer sponsored care and look to Washington for answers. - Tevi Troy, President, American Health Policy Institute
"When it's all said and done - after all the broken promises, fewer jobs, lost wages, website glitches, and cancelled health care plans - 35 million individuals will still be without health insurance," concluded Rep. Roe. "The American people can no longer afford this costly mistake. It is time to move the country away from this government-run health care scheme and toward a more patient-centered health care system."
Politicians, 'profiteers,' and public health
by Jeff Jacoby
NALOXONE ISN'T magic, but its power to rescue a heroin user from the brink of death can certainly seem miraculous. The anti-overdose drug, also known by the brand name Narcan, is easy to administer and has saved thousands of lives. First responders are often awestruck at how swiftly it can revive a dying addict.
"It's just incredible," the deputy fire chief of Revere, Mass., marveled in a public-radio interview last year. "There's somebody who's on the ground who's literally dead. They have no pulse. Sometimes they're blue, sometimes they're black. And you administer this stuff and sometimes in a minute or two or three, they're actually up and talking to you."
Free markets aren't magic either. Yet their ability to generate a life-saving drug like Naloxone, supplying quantities sufficient to make it widely available even when the need is great, can seem even more miraculous. That miracle is not enhanced when politicians rebuke the entrepreneurs who manufacture or distribute such wonder drugs for charging a price that the market will bear.
Politicians, for instance, like Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. She lists opiate abuse among her most urgent public concerns, yet is going out of her way to pick a fight with vendors who actually help make things better.
In recent years, drug overdoses have surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of death from injury in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, opiate painkillers alone account for 16,000 fatalities annually; deaths involving heroin have increased fivefold since 2001.
Amid this grim crisis of opioid overdoses, Naloxone has been a godsend. While public-health experts debate the causes of the epidemic, officials nationwide have been moving rapidly to expand access to the drug. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 30 states and the District of Columbia have adopted a variety of measures to facilitate the use of Naloxone. Among those measures: allowing it to be administered by non-medical personnel, paying for police and firefighters to carry supplies of the drug, and permitting pharmacies to dispense Naloxone without a prescription.
Of course, with demand for the medication skyrocketing, the price has climbed as well. The workings of economics apply to pharmaceuticals just as they apply to housing, bourbon, iPhones, or tickets to NFL playoff games. When demand for a product or service rises, the price of that product or service can't help but rise in response. That is especially true when the growth in demand has come about quickly or in unexpectedly short order. Heroin overdose rates have increased markedly since 2010, and only in the last year or two has there has been such a strong push by state and local authorities to equip first responders — police officers, sheriffs, firefighters, and even civilian bystanders — with Naloxone kits.
So it stands to reason that in Massachusetts, as in most other states, the price of Naloxone is up sharply. A 2-milliliter dose that used to cost the state $19.56 has more than doubled to $41.43. That's a sizeable increase, and it is putting a strain on public-safety and drug-treatment budgets.
The price spike may be unwelcome — no one likes to pay more for vital supplies — but it is hard to see anything unfair or unethical, let alone unlawful, about it. That hasn't stopped Healey from demanding that companies selling Naloxone in Massachusetts provide detailed explanations for the higher costs of the drug, and account for "any changes in prices over time" since the opioid crisis was declared a public emergency. Healey's spokesman insists the attorney general "isn't suggesting anything nefarious," and is simply conducting "a fact-finding mission." But the innuendo is all too obvious.
Healey has said she is just being "aggressive" and wants to be sure "that nobody is out there unnecessarily profiteering from a public health crisis." Yet who is the real "profiteer" here? The drug maker who responds to an unprecedented surge in demand for a critical medication by raising prices to ensure that inventories of the drugs aren't immediately depleted? Or the ambitious politician, who sees a chance to score political points by posing as a defender of the public against the very suppliers who are making available what the public needs?
Demand for Naloxone is way up; consequently the price of Naloxone is up. Eventually the price will fall, as new supplies come on line. In the meantime, thanks to the workings of the market, more lives are being saved.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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Posted by JR at 12:38 AM