Sunday, May 17, 2015

Shy Tories key to UK poll

Lessons for the USA as well

The most uninspiring UK election campaign of recent times culminated last week in the most extraordinary result.  Eleven opinion polls conducted the day before reported Labour and Conservatives neck and neck, yet the Conservatives beat Labour 37% to 30% and won an overall majority of 12 [seats].

How could every poll have got it so wrong?  The answer being touted by the pollsters is 'shy Tories.'

Socialists are often proud of their allegiance.  They believe they occupy the moral high ground, so they have no problem telling pollsters how they intend to vote.  They think voting Labour shows they are decent people who care about others, so they put posters in their windows and banners in their gardens.  It's what James Bartholomew calls 'virtue signalling.'

Many Conservatives, however, seem ashamed.  After telling pollsters they didn't know how they would vote, they crept into the polling stations, marked their crosses, and slunk out again like dirty old men buying pornographic magazines.

It's not the first time this has happened: in 1992, when all the polls predicted a Labour victory, the Conservatives [under John Major] won more votes than any party in British history.

Why are socialists proud of their beliefs while Conservatives seek to hide them?  Because there is a widespread belief that state socialism equates with virtue.  People understand that capitalism delivers material growth and prosperity, but they feel bad voting for it.  They worry that lower taxes mean not caring about the poor, and that free markets reward selfishness.

Yet the core case for capitalism is an ethical one: accepting responsibility for creating wealth rather than demanding that others give you theirs.  This is a moral argument that has to be spelled out clearly and repeatedly if people are to feel good about voting for parties advocating free markets and a limited state.  This is why think tanks are so crucial in the battle for hearts as well as minds.



Israel tells its African migrants: ‘Take £2,000 and a one-way ticket out of here or face indefinite stay in jail

Israel is telling African refugees to accept a £2,000 cash offer and a one-way ticket out of the country or face an indefinite stay in a desert prison.

The Eritrean and Sudanese migrants have been sent letters giving them 30 days to accept the offer of the cash and a ticket home or to another African country.

Last month, a statement from the interior ministry's population and immigration authority said Israel would identify qualifying migrants who cannot return home, inform them of their proposed 'safe third-party' destination and pay for their plane ticket and hotel there.

It said the measure would apply to migrants currently at the southern Holot detention centre 'who infiltrated Israel and cannot be expelled to their country of origin'.

Although the third-party countries were not named, media and some charities said they are Rwanda and Uganda.

The Washington Post has reported that the first of 45,000 refugees have received an offer of the cash as well as the one-way ticket. The location of the alternative - a stay in prison - has been revealed as Saharonim prison.

The letter reads: 'Money will be given to you at the airport in a secure manner. When you arrive at the third country, people will receive you at the airport and give you information about life in the country and other important information.'

The Washington Post said Israeli officials do not tell the refugees where they will be going until they are given their plane ticket on the day.

Last month's statement from interior ministry read: 'An infiltrator who agrees to this procedure will begin the preparations for leaving, an infiltrator who refuses will face a hearing following which it will be decided whether they will be imprisoned.'

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said the measure would 'encourage infiltrators to leave Israel in a safe and dignified way, and will be an effective tool to upholding our commitment to return life to normal in Israel'.

However, international rights groups protested against the plans, claiming Rwanda and Uganda are not safe and that migrants who arrive there are stripped of their cash and documents.

Israel - a state built by refugees - has previously offered cash stipends to African migrants in return for them leaving the Jewish state.

Last year, Israel began sending of African migrants to Uganda - giving them a one-way ticket and a stipend.

The interior ministry said that since last year, 1,500 migrants 'wilfully left to a third country, in addition to 7,000 who left for their country of origin'.

While Israel is trying to rid itself of African refugees, Jewish emigration is still being encouraged.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: 'To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms.'



Obama’s Home State To Shut Down State-Based Obamacare Exchange Over Lack of Funds

President Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii is shutting down its state-based health care exchange, the Hawaii Health Connector (HHC), due to incurring debts and the unwillingness of state legislators to put more taxpayer money into the struggling operation, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Saturday.

Established in 2011, the non-profit organization is Hawaii’s state-based health exchange for the President’s Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. There are currently about 37,000 Hawaiians enrolled in health care plans through the exchange, far short of the roughly 70,000 needed to raise enough money to sustain it, the article reports.

Officials with the exchange released a report to its board of directors on Friday declaring that the state-based marketplace simply does not have the money to continue operations, the article stated.

"Now that it is clear that the state will not provide sufficient support for the Hawaii Health Connector's operations through fiscal year 2016 (ending June 30, 2016), the Connector can no longer operate in a manner that would cause it to incur additional debts or other obligations for which it is unable to pay," the report read, according to the article.

The HHC will halt all new enrollments on Friday, May 15, the article reported. The organization will also discontinue outreach services on May 31 and officially transfer to a temporary state-run system by Sept. 30. The organization’s 32 current employees, 29 temporary staff, and 12 full-time contractors will all lose their jobs by Feb. 28 of next year.

To date, the Hawaii Health Connector has received $204.3 million in federal grants to build and sustain the exchange, of which it has spent all but $70 million, according to reports.

The HHC also only received $2 million of the $5.4 million it had requested from the state legislature last Tuesday, the Star-Advertiser explained in an article published on May 8. The state government’s decision not to fulfill the HHC’s total request followed previous unsuccessful proposals for the state to back about $28 million in loans or bonds, the article added.

According to reports, the federal government told the HHC in March that the exchange was out of compliance with Obamacare because it was not financially self-sustainable. According to the new federal law, all state-based health care exchanges were required to secure sufficient funding to be self-sustainable by 2015.

The federal government then declared its intentions to take over the state-based marketplace if it could not secure the funds it needed to operate from the state government, the Star-Advertiser reported back in April. At that time, HHC Executive Director Jeff Kissel was asking for between $9 million and $10 million in state funding to keep the exchange up and running, the article stated.

In addition to the cost of transferring policyholders over to the federal health care system – estimated to be around $30 million, according to the Star-Advertiser – some state legislators are also reportedly worried that a federal takeover of the state’s health insurance system could weaken Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act.

Enacted in 1974, the law requires employers in Hawaii to offer health insurance coverage to employees who work at least 20 hours per week, whereas Obamacare sets a 30-hour-per-week threshold. If the federal law preempts the 40-year-old state requirements, employees working less than 30 hours per week could lose their coverage, some Hawaii lawmakers say.

"I can't quite figure out what the deal is because the federal exchange doesn't really have an excellent track record. And if we were to migrate even pieces of our exchange to the feds, we put our Prepaid Health Care Act at risk. I’m not willing to do that," said Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D-Maui), the Star-Advertiser reported.

According to the most recent data by the U.S. Census Bureau, Hawaii already had an uninsured rate of 6.7 in 2013, lower than any state besides Massachusetts.

Under a potential “contingency plan” currently in the works by Hawaii Gov. David Ige, Hawaiians enrolled in the current HHC exchange would be transferred to a federal grant-backed, state-run system for the remainder of the year to avoid losing coverage. They would then need to enroll in next year during open enrollment.



The elite got it wrong

Unexpected victories for conservatives in both Israel and Britain

The media elite have a preeminent place in our politics, allegedly with the knowledge to declare what is politically feasible and what is not, including which candidates have a chance at winning and which do not. Before we head into a presidential primary season, it's time to insist that these "experts" don't know any better than the rest of us.

And sometimes their biases so heavily shade their predictions as to keep themselves in the dark about reality.

Take the elections in Israel in March. The manufactured conventional wisdom and polling predicted a tight race and rough sledding for conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When instead the conservative won easily, our media exploded in the usual sore-loser outbursts about how Mideast peace was dead. An Obama campaign stalwart (2012 field organizer Jeremy Bird) enriched himself but ended up on the losing side. This wasn't depicted as a bad sign for President Obama or his political team.

Now take the British elections on May 7. On "Meet the Press" on May 3, host Chuck Todd proclaimed the race between Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Party leftist Ed Miliband "too close to call." Naturally, Todd declared, "There's been commentary that if Cameron loses, the Republican Party ought to learn something from that."

On Thursday, as the Brits voted, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell brought on "senior political analyst" David Axelrod to make a fool of himself. "I think that the polls are accurate. This is a very, very close race, highly likely that this drama extends beyond tonight."

Incorrect on both counts. Cameron defied the "experts" and won a clear majority in Parliament.

Axelrod added: "One thing seems clear is that there's going to be a progressive majority in Britain after this election. Unless there's a huge surprise today, it's really hard to see how David Cameron puts together a majority." Axelrod was paid nearly a half-million dollars to advise Labour. Yet again, no one on television seemed saw this as a bad sign for Obama or the Democrats.

In fact, ABC never noticed the election results. They didn't involve royal babies. NBC gave it 42 words.

The print media also flunked at predictions. The Washington Post's top political correspondent Dan Balz warned on May 3 that Cameron was "buffeted by many of the same problems and pressures that afflict and divide the GOP in the United States." He quoted Peter Kellner from the polling firm YouGov, said of the Conservatives: "They have not shifted their brand from an out-of-touch party of the rich. The Tories have to persuade people they are determined to make the lives of ordinary people better ... not unlike the Republicans."

Just as the tea party "ruins" the GOP, Balz suggested the U.K. Independence Party and their "anti-immigration, anti-Europe message" moved Cameron's party to the right, alienating moderate and independent voters.

Balz concluded: "Almost any outcome would remind Conservatives, the most dominant political party in Britain over the last century, of how far short they have fallen over the past 18 years. Even if they win on Thursday, this would mark the fifth consecutive election in which they have failed to capture a majority of seats."

Balz is eating his crow well-done. Who exactly is the out-of-touch party?

These elections should be a clear warning to Republicans, and the American people as a whole headed into 2016: Don't let journalists tell you who can win and who doesn't stand a chance. Their feeling that conservatives should lose every race gets in the way.



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