Friday, January 08, 2016

Blatant crocodile tears

Liberal networks were super impressed with the waterworks display put on by President Obama the other night. The reluctant commander in chief is using the latest terror attack on American soil as an excuse to grab guns from law abiding Americans, and his emotional display and supposed "evolution" to a policy position he's held for decades impressed a lot of people. But it didn't impress Mark Levin:

    “Did Obama cry when the precious young lady was murdered in cold blood in San Francisco, a sanctuary city? We didn’t hear from him for 48 to 72 hours,” Levin said Tuesday. “Did Obama cry when an American reporter was decapitated on tape? No, 10 minutes later he was seen laughing and going off to play golf.”

    “Did Obama cry when in the mass murder in San Bernardino, California when he made his statement? No. And he got around and going and visiting the area, and those folks on the way to his vacation,” he said. “I’m sorry, I can’t put up with this crap!”

    “Obama has made this a more violent, crime ridden, terrorist target, this nation. He absolutely has. And what did he do to our police departments? What has he done to them? From Ferguson to Chicago to Baltimore,” Levin argued the police officers are “treated like crap!”
Levin is right. Obama reserves both his outrage and his effort for instances that fit into his pre conceived view of the world and advance his liberal narrative. Nothing else matter



Russian Church Replaces Rome as the Center of Christianity?

Christians worldwide turn to Russia for protection

At no time in history has the persecution of Christians been as intense and widespread as it is now.  Christians in the Middle East are in dire need of a champion, which, in today’s world can only be a great power, and it is Russia that has taken on that responsibility.

With its secular ideology, the West can no longer protect Christian interests in the world as it did for centuries. Although the USA has a higher percentage of church goers than other Western countries, it underestimates the importance of religion in the countries it targets for regime change. Turning a blind eye to beheadings, child rape and other atrocities, it has created a hell on earth for Christians all over the Middle East.

And with the Arab Spring, things went from bad to worse, as ISIS’ success in Iraq inspired similar groups. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Shabaab in Somalia are all committing atrocities against Christians.

Obsessed by its Constitution, the US assumes that it can impose the separation of church and state on a world where cultural and religious traditions run deep.  Its failure to realize that these traditions contribute to a rejection of Western-style democracy, and similarly, to notice  the spiritual dimension of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, including his standing among persecuted Christians, gives Russia a decisive advantage.

Vladimir Putin knows that modernity’s separation of politics from religion inspires many across the globe to return to their religious roots. In February 2012, he made a solemn vow to the Russian Orthodox Church to protect persecuted Christians all over the world, a commitment that has even caught the attention of America’s powerful Evangelicals.

Syrian Christians are thrilled and grateful for Russia’s decisive response to the slaughter they have endured for more than four years. But to understand the true significance of this initiative, you have to know that aside from Russia, Georgia and Armenia, there are Orthodox communities in fifteen European and near Eastern countries for whom Putin is increasingly looking like a 21st Century Constantine.

That 4th century Roman emperor converted to Christianity,  put an end to the persecutions Christians had suffered under his predecessors. and granted the Church privileges that allowed it to become a worldwide power. Notwithstanding the electrifying presence of Pope Francis, in future we could see the Eastern Church replace Rome as the center of Christianity.

This will happen without the help of the media. Incapable of imagining the spiritual development that has taken place in Russia since the demise of Communism, it portrays Putin’s assertions of faith as geopolitical opportunism. Yet in his autobiography “First Person”, published in 2000, the Russian President declared that the first line in every Russian law should refer to moral values. He wants Russia to be as aware of its spiritual heritage as it is of its political and geographical position.

President Putin is convinced that spirituality has a profound effect on the way a culture develops, providing an indispensable moral compass that goes deeper than passing political expediency and secular “freedom”.

As increasing numbers of Christians across the spectrum turn toward Russia, its global influence can only grow.



Health expenses surging in Mass.

Consumers and businesses across Massachusetts will have to pay more for health care in 2016, as insurance rates rise at a faster clip and some premiums soar by double digit rates.

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s biggest commercial insurer, premiums will rise an average of 5 percent this year. Rates are set to increase between 3 and 7 percent at Tufts Health Plan, 6 to 12 percent at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and as much as 17 percent at Fallon Health.

The jumps in premiums come as insurers pass on the costs of rising drug prices, insurers and analysts said, and grapple with the cost of expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Most of the state’s major health insurers are sharply raising premiums for individuals, small firms, and big businesses, according to a Globe review of figures provided by the insurers and the state Division of Insurance.

For many, the upward trend is troubling.

“People cannot sustain the amount of money they’re paying for health care, ” said Joshua Archambault, senior fellow at the Pioneer Institute, a right-leaning Boston think tank. “At some point, people really can’t afford it.”

With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, more people have coverage, and as a result they are using more medical services and prescription drugs, analysts said. In addition, they said, insurers may be passing along the costs of millions of dollars in taxes and fees to finance the expansion of health coverage.

Several insurers and the state Division of Insurance, which approves rates for individual and small-business plans, attribute rising premiums in part to a controversial element of the federal health care law. That program, called risk adjustment, requires insurers with healthier members to make payments to companies with sicker members in order to share the risks and cost of insuring people with a lot of medical needs. It is designed to prevent insurers from boosting profits by enrolling only healthy members.

When the program went into effect in 2015, most insurers ended up paying money to their largest competitor, Blue Cross, which received more than $51 million in risk adjustment payments. Tufts Health Plan received more than $8 million.

The program aims to smooth and stabilize insurance rates, but some insurers say it is having the opposite effect. Companies, including Harvard Pilgrim, which made about $4 million in payments, Fallon, which paid about $11 million, and Neighborhood Health Plan, which paid about $28 million,said they raised rates more in 2016 because of risk-adjustment.

One portion of the market, health plans for individuals and small businesses, shows the steepness of some increases. Harvard Pilgrim raised premiums 8.7 percent for these plans in 2016, compared with a 1.4 percent decline in rates in 2015. Fallon’s rates are up 16.5 percent, compared with a 4.9 percent increase a year earlier. At Neighborhood Health, premiums rose 9.4 percent in 2016, compared to 5.9 percent a year earlier.

The national insurer United HealthCare raised rates 13 percent in 2016, after raising them 4.5 percent a year earlier.

Blue Cross, on the other hand, said the payments it received to help cover its higher population of sicker members helped it keep its premium increases modest: rates for individuals, small businesses, and large businesses are up about 5 percent this year, compared with 4.2 percent in 2015.



Burying Negative Polls

Network news outlets conduct their own polls. They also bury the poll results when they don't like them. On PBS on Jan. 1, liberal pundit Mark Shields brought some very bad news for the left. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 73 percent say they want the next president to take a different approach from President Obama's.

So NBC, both the creator of the poll and a relentless cheerleader of Obama, chose not to air that bombshell. Instead, they buried it deep in an article on the "Meet the Press" website. "This will become a high hurdle for the Democrats at some stage of the 2016 election," Democratic pollster Fred Yang declared in that piece.

So what did they pluck out of their December polling to report instead? Take a look.

Dec. 10: "Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt promoted "brand-new" results that 57 percent of America opposed Donald Trump's notion to ban (temporarily) Muslim immigration to America. On screen, a graphic showed it was 57 percent opposed, and only 25 percent in favor.

Dec. 11: "Today" doubled down. Peter Alexander reported "the firestorm over Trump's proposed Muslim ban keeps raging. Our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows nearly 6 in 10 Americans oppose Trump's proposal. But Republicans are divided, 42 percent in favor, 36 percent against."

Dec. 13: Both "Meet the Press" and "Nightly News" touted NBC's poll showing Trump on top of GOP race, with 27 percent to Ted Cruz's 22 percent. Still no mention of the current president's unpopularity.

Dec. 14: On "Today," Peter Alexander repeated the Trump/Cruz findings, then added: "There are some new numbers from our NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out just this morning that show Hillary Clinton would trounce Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup. It's much closer though between Clinton and Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson."

But there's no mention that if she runs on Obama's platform, she too would be crushed.

That evening, "Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt reported, "In our brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll [apparently their polls never age], 40 percent say the federal government's top priority is national security and terrorism. That number has more than doubled since April, and 29 percent say they're worried that they, or a loved one, will be the victim of a terror attack. But today, for the second time in just over a week, President Obama argued that his strategy against ISIS is working."

Holt (and NBC) deliberately skipped numbers revolving around this issue that are far more important. Obama has his lowest approval rating since right before the 2014 midterm wipeout, at 43 percent. More to the point, just 37 percent approve and 57 percent disapprove of the president's handling of foreign policy, and only 34 percent approve and 60 percent disapprove of his handling of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

NBC's pollsters said these low numbers on foreign policy were comparable to George W. Bush's numbers at this point in his second term. In addition, only 20 percent of the public believes the country is headed in the right direction, versus a whopping 70 percent who think it's on the wrong track.

The networks constantly hammered George W. Bush with bad polling results like these in the long war on terrorism. But for Obama, NBC and the other networks routinely and shamelessly spike these awful numbers to preserve his "legacy" and to keep Clinton "inevitable" in November.



Inside the garden of Political Town Hall Plants

On Thursday, CNN will host a town hall with President Obama as part of his "final-year push to make gun control part of his legacy." In addition to sitting down with liberal anchor Anderson Cooper, the network says Obama will "take questions from the audience."

Uh-oh. Get out your best pruning shears and trowels. In an age of micromanaged partisan stagecraft and left-wing media enablers, there is no such thing as a spontaneous question.

CNN has a long history of allowing political plants to flourish in its public forums.

At the cable station's Democratic debate in Las Vegas in 2007, moderator Wolf Blitzer introduced several citizen questioners as "ordinary people, undecided voters." But they later turned out to include a former Arkansas Democratic director of political affairs, the president of the Islamic Society of Nevada, and a far left anti-war activist who'd been quoted in newspapers lambasting Harry Reid for his failure to pull out of Iraq.

At a CNN/YouTube GOP debate two weeks later, the everyday, "undecided voters" whose questions were chosen included:

—A member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Americans For Hillary Clinton Steering Committee.

—A young woman named "Journey" who questioned the candidates on abortion and whom CNN failed to properly identify as an outspoken John Edwards supporter.

—A supposed "Log Cabin Republican" who had declared his support for Obama on an Obama '08 campaign blog.

—A supposedly unaffiliated "concerned mother" who was actually a staffer and prominent Pittsburgh union activist for the United Steelworkers — which had endorsed Edwards for president.

—A supposed "undecided" voter who urged Ron Paul to run as an independent, but who had already publicly declared his support for former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's Democratic presidential bid.

—A staffer for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; a former intern for Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and a former intern for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Once a manipulative gardener, always a manipulative gardener. During the push for Obamacare, Democrat plants spread like kudzu across town hall propaganda events.



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