Saturday, May 31, 2014

SURPRISE: Analysts predict most employer-provided insurance will disappear as ObamaCare takes hold


Across the political spectrum, analysts now say that 80 to 90 percent of employer-provided insurance, the mainstay of American health coverage for decades, will disappear as ObamaCare takes hold.
The research firm S&P IQ predicts less than 10 percent of those who get insurance at work will still get it there ten years from now.
"The companies will really be hard pressed to justify why they would continue to have to spend the kind of money they spend by offering insurance through corporate plans when there's an alternative that's subsidized by the government" said Michael Thompson, head of S&P IQ.
Even a former adviser to President Obama, Zeke Emanuel, predicted less than 20 percent who now get employer-provided insurance will still get it ten years from now. He wrote in his book "Reinventing American Health Care" that "By 2025 few private-sector employers will still be providing health insurance."
Emanuel told Fox News, “it's going to actually be better for people. They'll have more choice, most people who work for an employer and get their coverage through an employer do not have choice."
The reason analysts see this historic change in health coverage is because the tax penalty for not offering insurance -- $2,000 per worker-- is so much less than the cost of providing it.
John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis explained that, "for a worker making only $15 an hour, typical employer coverage for a family costs $15,000 or $16,000, that's more than half of that worker’s annual wage."
Thompson said, "it would be too compelling for companies to not put their employees into exchanges. It's just way too compelling."
To make it compelling to workers, as well, employers can bump up workers' pay to help cover the deductibles and other costs in ObamaCare.
Former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin said,"you could give them more, so after taxes they end up with the same and the math says you still come out ahead. And so employers have been doing this math ever since the law passed. I expect for them to get to the exits pretty quickly."
Employers would also get rid of the headache and uncertainty of providing insurance, he noted. "Most people are not in the health insurance business they are manufacturers, exporters, they are service providers. And they would rather stick to that than worry about health insurance."
Goodman added, "they don't want to be in the health insurance business. So if they see a low cost way to get out of it, many will jump at the chance."
So employers can offer more pay to workers, pay the fine and still come out ahead, while workers would still get health care.
The only losers in all this would be the federal deficit and taxpayers, since many workers going into ObamaCare would qualify for subsidies, driving up the cost.

Cross-country flight diverted after dog poops


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A cross-country fight had to make an unscheduled landing when a service dog pooped twice in the aisle, sickening passengers with the odor.
US Airways spokesman Andrew Christie said the May 28 US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia had to make an unscheduled stop in Kansas City,
Christie called the episode a "rare and unfortunate situation." The flight continued after the mess was cleaned up on the ground. The passenger and service dog were rebooked on another flight.
Jim Kutsch, president at The Seeing Eye guide dog school in Morristown, New Jersey, tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that such incidents are rare, but that dogs occasionally get sick on planes, too.

WFB EXCLUSIVE: DNC Raising Money off Anti-Child Website?


Child victim
Child victim
WOW. Democrats were not pleased with Sonny’s blog post about Jay Carney’s son and his awful band making awful music. Free Beaconombudsman Biff Diddle has forward the following draft email from the Democratic National Committee, which is seeking to raise money off the controversy:
Can you believe that conservatives are attacking our kids?
Check out this OUTRAGEOUS HIT PIECE by Washington Free Beacon managing editor Sonny Bunch. He thinks kids are “awful.” He’s a disgrace to humanity!
The KOCH BROTHERS and their GOP allies are launching KOCH-FUELEDattacks on Democratic children across the country, and we need YOUR help to fight back.
Will the Republican Party condemn Bunch and his anti-kid ideology? DON’T COUNT ON IT!
Can we count on you? We need your support. Tell Sonny Bunch: Children aren’t “awful.” THEY’RE THE FUTURE.

Democratic Headquarters

The Familiar Theme Of Rewriting History: Communist Leadership Renewing Efforts To Purge Memories Of Massacre


A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. / AP
A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. / AP

BY:   —  
Witnesses of the Tiananmen Square massacre 25 years ago said on Friday that it remains more important than ever to press for human rights and democratic reforms in China as the country’s communist leadership renews its efforts to purge memories of the event from the public consciousness.
The five witnesses who spoke at the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing included some of the top student leaders of the pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Chinese troops violently suppressed the demonstrations on June 4, 1989, killing anywhere from several hundred to thousands of citizens and arresting thousands more, though the Chinese government has never released an official tally.
Public or even private discussion of “the June 4th Incident” remains forbidden in China, where university students today are ignorant of iconic figures such as the unidentified “Tank Man” who dared to stand in front of four Chinese tanks in the square.
President Xi Jinping has launched the harshest crackdown yet on discussion of the protests ahead of their 25th anniversary next week. Charismatic rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and other prominent scholars were arrested earlier this month for merely talking about the events in a private home. Dozens of other activists have been jailed, interrogated, or placed under house arrest.
Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.), chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, said it is important for the United States to commemorate the events of 1989 while Chinese citizens are prohibited from discussing or learning about them. Smith’s resolution calling on the Chinese government to provide a full accounting of the repression and uphold human rights passed the House on Wednesday.
“The government of China continues to go to astounding lengths to erase the memory of the Tiananmen demonstrations and their violent suppression,” he said. “The Internet is censored, citizens holding private discussions or public commemorations are harassed and detained, and we still have no account of those who died, those arrested, those disappeared, or those executed.”
“We will always remember—always remember—Tiananmen as long as the Chinese people cannot discuss its significance openly without harassment or arrest,” he added.
Xiong Yan was chairman of the Beijing University Students Independent Council in 1989 when he heard on the radio that Chinese troops had entered the square and began firing on the demonstrators. Yan and a friend broke through walls of people shouting “Don’t go!” and “They will kill you!” to witness the events firsthand.
“As we approached, we saw the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had tanks, vehicles, and troops moving into Tiananmen Square,” he said in his testimony. “Soldiers with helmets and AK47s were randomly shooting at protestors as they chanted slogans and tried to hold their ground. My friend and I crept forward, the sound of bullets, shooting, crying, and tanks blended together.”
“As we continued to move forward, we saw horrific scenes of students who were both wounded and dying,” he continued. “Few knew first aid, and I remember having feelings of helplessness as people cried out for medical assistance.”
Yan was placed on a “most wanted student leaders” list after the protests were dispersed and was imprisoned for nearly two years. He converted to Christianity with the help of an underground church member in China after his release, eventually coming to the United States in 1992. He is now a chaplain in the U.S. Army.
The witnesses said that despite China’s enormous economic gains in the past 25 years, repression is still severe.
Local officials aiming to meet the Communist Party’s population quotas still force women to undergo late-term abortions under the government’s one-child policy, despite a formal ban on the practice. Authorities have overseen more than 336 million forced abortions since the institution of the policy in the early 1980s, according to the pro-life and women’s advocacy group All Girls Allowed.
The preference for boys in China, along with the one-child policy, has created a gender imbalance. China now ranks among the worst nations for combating human trafficking as girls and women from rural areas are sent to urban cities to be brides or sex slaves.
Chinese authorities also continue to imprison leaders of the underground Christian movement that meets in house churches.
Chai Ling, founder and president of All Girls Allowed, noted that there are currently about 100 million Christians in China despite the continued persecution.
“The past 25 years—after the Tiananmen Massacre—China has developed into an economic dictatorship, with no political reform,” she said. “However, despite the brutal oppression, forced abortions, and religious persecution, China is going through a powerful spiritual revival. The human heart can’t be satisfied by materialism alone.”
The Tiananmen leaders all urged lawmakers to pass legislation such as U.S. visa bans for Chinese officials accused of ordering the crackdown in 1989.
Smith said the U.S. government has long been lax on enforcing similar bans and pressing the Chinese government on human rights more broadly. He noted that President Bill Clinton arranged a 1996 meeting with the Chinese defense minister in Washington, the same general who was the operational commander of soldiers in 1989.
“He should have been sent to the Hague for crimes against humanity and was treated and carried away on a pillow,” he said.
Yan said he hopes to one day return to a free China.
“It is my prayer that the lives taken at Tiananmen Square will continue to live on in our memory, and inspire us to continue working toward a better world, free from tyranny and persecution, that upholds the rights and freedoms for all peoples.”

Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Demand Your Right to Be Forgotten from Google


Sorry America. But I wouldn't expect anything like this soon. Unless we actually do have a 2016 presidential election.

A couple of weeks ago, the European Court of Justice completely changed things for those who wanted to hide some piece of their past from Google searches. 

The “right to be forgotten” seeks to strike a balance between the masses’ right to have access to information and that of people to protect themselves from their past, from information that is no longer relevant to their lives.

Google has set up a special form to help out with the entire process, since Europeans have already managed to swamp the company with requests. Filling it out is pretty simple, but it takes a few steps.

Filling In the Form

First off, you need to make sure to select the country whose law applies to your request. The list includes all European Union member countries and a few extras.

Then, you have to fill in the full name for which you are requesting search results to be removed. In other words, the exact phrase you use to search for the name on Google and which returns the unwanted links.

If you are representing another individual, you have to type in your own name in the second field, as well as the relationship to the person, such as “attorney,” “spouse,” “sibling” and so on. A contact email address where confirmation email will be sent is also requested.

Then, you get to the part that you’ve been waiting for – telling Google which links associated to your name you want removed.

There are three steps that you must comply with here. First, you must provide the URLs you want removed from the search results for the name you provided above. You can copy the link from the browser bar after clicking on the result.

Then, you have to explain, if not clear, why the linked page is about you or the person you represent. The final step requires you to explain to Google why the URL is irrelevant, outdated, or inappropriate. Google offers a single field by default, but you can add additional ones easily.

Since there are plenty of people who fraudulently try to get links removed that are not associated with them, whether to harm competitors or trying to suppress perfectly legal information, Google requires that you also add a clear, readable copy of your valid ID.
For those acting as the authorized agent of another person, you’ll have to add that person’s ID and authorization.

The final step is to confirm that the data filled in above is accurate and that you have the necessary authorization to make the request, followed by signing the form with a date and name.

What Happens Now?
You should be aware that if you want to file such a request, Google will individually analyze each request, which means that it may take some time to get a response, since the company is still working on refining the process.

The company will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as consider whether there’s a public interest in the information. So, if the data you’re trying to get removed is about a financial scam, professional malpractices, criminal conviction, or public conduct of government officials, the demand will be rejected. There are certainly likely other situations as well.


IMMIGRATION POLICY FAILURE: American Dream Comes to Abrupt End for Anchor Baby Car Theft Ring



Authorities searching for three to four suspects believed to be part of an auto-theft ring in Hidalgo County.
The men eluded police after their partners in crime were arrested.
Alton police arrested four of the suspects two days ago after the stolen vehicle was found.
That vehicle helped uncover the auto theft ring.
Police arrested Alhan Sanchez, Oscar Aranda, Oscar Davila and Aaron Sanchez near five and a half mile line and La Homa Road.
Today a judge charged all four with theft. Oscar Davila and Alhan Sanchez were also charged with burglary of habitation.
After the arrest police got a search warrant for one of their homes they encountered three men in a stolen black SUV. The men gave chase and abandoned the vehicle in the brush nearby.
Through the investigation they were led to a property where other stolen vehicles were kept and found a white truck that was involved in a recent pursuit with Alton police.
At the scene police met Hidalgo County Sheriff deputies who were already obtaining a search warrant for the property.
They found a truck, a stolen GMC Yukon and two stolen ATVs on the property.
Police believe these suspects are responsible for several other thefts and could face more charges.
Now, police continue to search for the remaining suspects.
If you have any information call Alton police or the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.
All four suspects charged today are under the age of 19 and are from the Edinburg area.

Voting Machines cause election return delays


Issues with voting machines delayed local primary runoff election returns Tuesday night as Cameron County saw nearly 2,000 more voters head to the polls than in 2010.
“We increased a bit,” said Chris Davis, administrator for the Cameron County Elections Office.
There were 11,102 total voters in the Democratic primary runoff races this month compared to 9,642 in 2010, the last similar election.
Davis noted that there was only one Democratic countywide runoff that year compared to the 2014 elections, which included three races where voters from across the county could participate.
Despite having only statewide races on the ballot, Republican turnout was up as well, Davis said.
The Republican voter total in the 2010 runoff was 979 compared to 1,482 during this month’s primary runoffs, where county voters mirrored state results in selecting four candidates for statewide GOP nominations.
Candidates Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton, Sid Miller and Ryan Sitton all won Cameron County as well as the Republican nod for their respective races.
Patrick will appear on the ballot in November as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor while Paxton will be up for Attorney General.
Miller will seek to be Commissioner of Agriculture while Sitton will compete for Railroad Commissioner.
Davis said while there were no Election Day issues with the Republicans, there were a few hiccups that delayed Democratic returns until after 11 p.m.
“It did take a long time,” Davis said Wednesday, explaining that he felt the delays were largely due to the efforts of poll workers to do things openly.
When two polling places had ballots that were uncounted because the machine wouldn’t accept them, the presiding election judges sequestered them under seal and brought them in separately.
Those ballots had to be added to precinct totals during the central count, which was held in the first floor jury room at the Cameron County Courthouse.
A precinct in Brownsville also had some issues with a vote tabulation machine, where a presiding judge noticed the total number of ballots cast differed by five from the reading on the machine.
While the machine said it had processed 122 ballots, only 117 had come in.
Davis commended the judge, who promptly filled out an affidavit and notified elections staffers.
Davis said a discussion with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office revealed the officials needed a court order to open the box.
Davis asked for that order and a district judge came by to grant it, leading to the opening of the ballot boxes in front of poll watchers.
Once tabulated, Davis said the presiding judge was proven right, as it seemed five ballots jammed within the mechanism and were counted twice.
“We were fortunate that that was caught,” Davis said, noting that the return delays were not egregious. “I’d rather finish late if it means getting the count accurate and correct and doing it all transparently and according to law.”
Election results are unofficial until canvassed.
Davis said the mandatory date for canvassing is June 5 and that the provisional ballot board will meet June 3.