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Lech Walesa: Obama Has Failed, ‘America no Longer Leads the World’.


Image: Lech Walesa: Obama Has Failed, 'America no Longer Leads the World'

By Cathy Burke

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president of Poland, Lech Walesa, says President Obama has failed to reclaim America’s role as a world leader.

In an interview with CNN aired Wednesday, the 70-year-old Walesa — who supported Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 election — said the Obama administration has been a dangerous disappointment.

“When he was elected… there was great hope,” Walesa said. “…. we were hoping Obama would reclaim moral leadership for America,” adding: “That failed.”

“…. in terms of politics and morality, America no longer leads the world,” he said. “…America did not regain its leadership status. We were just lucky there were no big conflicts in the world,” saying the world has relied on a strong America to maintain the balance of power around the globe.

“… It’s a dangerous situation so we are awaiting a president who will understand that,” he said.

Walesa went from a shipyard electrician to a union leader who helped overthrow the communist government in Poland, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and seven years later, becoming the first democratically elected president in Poland.

“I managed to destroy a bad system,” he told CNN in the interview in Washington. “…. now we must be excellent at building new things. It doesn’t take that much.”

In 2012, Walesa effectively endorsed Romney in his bid for president.

“I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too,” Walesa was heard after meeting Romney in Poland, the Weekly Standard reported at the time.

“Gov. Romney, get your success — be successful!”

Walesa is the subject of a documentary that will be considered for an Academy Award this year, “Walesa, Man of Hope.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

2013: The Year of Broken Obamacare Promises.


Image: 2013: The Year of Broken Obamacare Promises

By Cathy Burke

President Obama’s inauguration in January kicked off a year of broken promises about his signature health care law, threatening to turn a presidency based on vows of hope and change to one doling out disappointment and failures.

The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, but it was in 2013 that the health care reform law implode into a nightmare of broken promises. Assertions made by the president and Health Secretary weeks ago, months ago and even years ago have over and over again proved to been misleading at best and complete untrue at worst.

No, you may not be able to keep your doctor or your plan. And, no, the website is not user-friendly.

Here are the Top-10 Obamacare promises that were broken in 2013:

1. The website is simple and user-friendly

Hardly. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘s claim in an op-ed piece in USA Today turned out to be a glib — and false — boast.

Even Democrat-friendly Jon Stewart‘s The Daily Show hammered Sebelius on the widespread and well-reported problems with the HealthCare.gov sign-ups. Stewart ended the interview with the official in a merciless monologue in which he wondered: “And then I think to myself, ‘well, maybe she’s just lying to me.’”

Just days into its disastrous rollout, the Obamacare website was out of order until mid-morning Oct. 8, a public relations headache given the administration had pledged to sign up 7 million people for Obamacare insurance by the start of 2014.

The early outage wasn’t the last; on Dec. 20, a mere three days before the deadline to sign up for coverage starting Jan. 1, yet another outage lasted for several hours.

Even members of Congress were vexed by Obamacare’s glitches.

2. “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

Obama’s June 6, 2009 assertion was wrong. As insurers sent cancellations to millions of individual policy holders because their plans were sub-par for Obamacare standards, the president’s oft-repeated pledge blew apart, and PolitiFact declared the vow the “lie of the year.”

But respected Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer railed Obamacare itself was a fraud from the beginning, writing the law “was designed to throw people off their private plans and into government-run exchanges where they would be made to overpay — forced to purchase government-mandated services they don’t need — as a way to subsidize others.”

3. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

Obama’s 2009 promise was wrong again, we learned in 2013. For insured Americans dumped by their employer-sponsored plans because they don’t cut it with the new health care law, or pushed by their insurers to re-enroll at higher rates, it’s likely they won’t be able to keep their doctors, conservative blogger Cam Harris writes.

Offering the example of the 15,000 spouses of UPS employees forced to seek out new plans on the individual market, Harris writes they’ll find their Obamacare network won’t include their usual MD.

4. Premiums will fall by as much as $2,500 per family

That won’t happen. Forbes magazine, comparing Affordable Care Act premiums versus pre-Obamacare premiums, finds this presidential assertion a dud.

According to Forbes, and based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will actually jack up underlying insurance rates for young men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for young women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. As for states, the worst off is North Carolina, which is expected to see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men, the analysis showed.

5. Obamacare won’t add ‘one dime to our deficits’

But it does. Even the Government Accountability Office’s report of Feb. 26, 2013, projected Obamacare will increase the long-term federal deficit by $6.2 trillion.

An Investor’s Business Daily analysis also shot down the Obama promise, reporting the Affordable Care Act could actually add $18 billion in red ink.

6. The ACA will cost around $900 billion over 10 years

Not even close. A Congressional Budget Office’s report from May 2013 puts the real price tag more around the area of $1.8 trillion. And the cost projections rise with every new estimated, conservative blogger Cam Harris noted.

7. Families making less than $250,000 won’t see ‘any form’ of tax increase

Far from it. Obamacare contains 18 separate tax hikes, fees, and penalties, many of which heavily impact the middle class, the Heritage Foundation maintains.

Citing a Joint Committee on Taxation 2012 report and Congressional Budget Office information, as well as a Heritage Foundation report, Obamacare’s taxes and penalties will accumulate over $770 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period, and among taxes that’ll pound the middle class are the individual mandate tax, the medical device tax, and new penalties and limits on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.

8. The ACA will keep healthcare costs down.

So says the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.

But it’s just not so, according to senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and American Enterprise Institute visiting fellow James Captretta writes in the Weekly Standard.

Here’s why: National Health Expenditure projections show a slowdown in health spending that began long before Obamacare was passed, and was due to factors entirely unrelated, he argues.

In 2002, NHE spending per capita rose 8.5 percent and then began to slow over the ensuring years, he notes. And HHS actuaries even concede the reasons their estimates of health costs over the coming decade are lower than they were a few years ago is due to economic conditions, fiscal policy changes, including a sequester cut of Medicare payments, and a slowdown in growth in Medicaid, Medicare, and other government programs — all unrelated to Obamacare.

9. You have a deadline and a mandate.

Maybe. Squishy deadlines, and “fixes” have been a hallmark of Obamacare almost from the start.

In the most major fix of a problem aimed at people who lost their coverage because it didn’t measure up to Obamacare standards, the administration abruptly shifted gears Dec. 19, changing policy to help people make a deadline to replace dropped insurance plans.

Those with inadequate insurance that got canceled were now allowed to claim a “hardship exemption,” giving them the option to buy cheaper, minimal coverage plans normally available only to people under 30.

Another “fix” came Nov. 14, a week after the president apologized for the cancellations sent to people whose insurance didn’t meet new standards. The president asked insurers to keep offering those plans for a year even if they don’t meet minimum Obamacare requirements.

For small businesses, Obama last July bumped back the deadline requiring companies with 50 or more employees to offer insurance from Jan. 1 2014 to Jan. 1, 2015.

As for sign-up deadlines, it’s been confusing at best. In October, people had until Dec. 15 to pick a plan if they wanted coverage beginning Jan. 1. Then, in November, it was extended to Dec. 23.

But citing high traffic to the HealthCare.gov website and at call centers before that deadline, the goal posts moved again, this time to Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Officials said nearly 2 million visits had been logged by that time in the last-minute rush, Yet in a blog post on the website Dec. 24, the administration suggested additional flexibility.

“Sometimes despite your best efforts, you might have run into delays caused by heavy traffic to HealthCare.gov, maintenance periods, or other issues with our systems that prevented you from finishing the process on time,” the post said. “If this happened to you, don’t worry — we still may be able to help you get covered as soon as January 1.”

HHS also pushed back the deadline when the first month’s premium would be due, and insurers obliged, extending the payment deadline nine days, to Jan. 10.

10. Sure, the national exchange is glitchy, but the state sites are working great.

Not so fast.

Obamacare’s state-run enrollment operations have had technological delays and low sign-up levels. Several states even replaced top executives.

“Some of these states have been committed, but it’s just been hurdle after hurdle after hurdle,” said Heather Howard, program director at the State Health Reform Assistance Network, a Princeton, New Jersey-based group advising state exchanges told Bloomberg News. “I do think those states will get there, but this is an ambitious undertaking in the best of cases.”

Meanwhile, Massachusetts and Vermont are weighing legal options against the contractor that designed their healthcare insurance exchange websites. both states used Montreal-based CGI Group, which built HealthCare.gov, and say they are withholding future payments and taking steps now to recoup millions in taxpayer dollars already spent on their websites that still have serious problems, reports The Boston Globe.

“CGI has consistently underperformed, which is frustrating and a serious concern,” said Jason Lefferts, a spokesman for the Massachusetts’ insurance marketplace, Commonwealth Home Connector. “We are holding the vendor accountable for its underperformance and will continue to apply nonstop pressure to work to fix defects and improve performance.”
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

A&E Lifts ‘Duck Dynasty’ Suspension.


By Cathy Burke

Buckling under a storm of controversy over the suspension of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, the A&E network Friday reinstated the outspoken star of the mega-hit series.

The bearded 67-year-old patriarch of the Louisiana family was yanked from the hit show Dec. 18 after he gave an interview to GQ magazine in which he aired his religious objections to homosexuality, likening it to “bestiality.”

Editor’s Note: Obama’s Budget Takes Aim at Retired Americans 

The interview set off howls of protests from activist groups including GLAAD, the gay media watch organization, but Robertson’s abrupt suspension triggered an equally fierce backlash from “Duck Dynasty” fans — and conservative politicians such as Sarah Palin — who pointed out Robertson’s beliefs were consistent with the Bible and shared by many Americans.

An Alabama lawmaker even announced he’d introduce a resolution in support of the beleaguered reality star.

On Friday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal praised the decision to re-instate Robertson,according to The Daily Caller.

“I am glad to hear that the folks at A&E came to their senses and recognized that tolerance of religious views is more important than political correctness,” he said in a statement. “Today is a good day for the freedoms of speech and religious liberty.”

But the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Friday that despite A&E Network‘s decision to end the suspension of Phil Robertson for his insensitive remarks about gays and African Americans, the “Duck Dynasty” star needs to be “more repentant and contrite.”

“Mr. Robertson’s language was hurtful and painful to many people … [and] he’s been unrepentant,” Jackson told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“When people make mistakes, and people do make mistakes, you should be repentant and contrite and then seek forgiveness.”

In its statement reported by The Hollywood Reporter, which first broke the news of the suspension’s lifting, A&E said “a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to… principals” prompted its quick reaction to the Robertson interview in GQ.

“While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the ‘coarse language’ he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article,” the statement said.

“He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.'”

Though A&E reiterated that it didn’t agree with Robertson’s views, it conceded itslucrative hit “is not a show about one man’s views.

“It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love,” the network said, calling the family a group that comes “together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness” and saying those are values the network also feels “strongly about.”

The network said it had talks with Robertson’s family as well as with “numerous advocacy groups” before lifting its suspension.

“A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family,” it declared.

It also said it’ll “use this moment to launch a national public service campaign … promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty.”

Since Robertson didn’t miss any filming during his suspension, the so-caled hiatus had zero effect on the upcoming fifth season, The Hollywood Reporter noted.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Chamber of Commerce Promises $50 Million in Fight Against Tea Party.


Image: Chamber of Commerce Promises $50 Million in Fight Against Tea Party

By Cathy Burke

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ready to take on the tea party in 2014 Senate primaries and elections with a deep-pocketed boost of establishment and business Republican candidates.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” Chamber strategist Scott Reed told The Wall Street Journal. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Editor’s Note: 5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . . 

The financial support, which The Hill reported would pour at least $50 million into the campaigns of centrist GOP candidates, is part of an aggressive approach toward tea party Republicans since the 16-day October government shutdown.

The Chamber has expressed its displeasure with tea party favorites Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who resisted passing a budget without a provision to defund Obamacare, triggering a stalemate.

Just a month later, the Chamber jumped into the intra-party GOP voting, backing establishment GOP candidate Bradley Byrne over tea party prospect Dean Young in an Alabama special House election.

Byrne beat Young, and went on to an easy victory in the Dec. 17 special election,defeating Democrat Burton LeFlore.

The Chamber — which hasn’t usually gotten involved in GOP primaries — is airing ads for Rep. Mike Simpson in Idaho, where he faces a tea party-backed challenger in his race for a ninth House term.

Hard-right candidates’ blunders are perceived to have cost the GOP five Senate seats in recent years, The Hill reported.

Republicans, for example, lost Senate elections in Indiana and Missouri after conservative candidates made controversial comments about abortion and rape that hurt their support, particularly among women.

The Chamber could also toss its influence into upcoming Senate races in Georgia,
Iowa, and North Carolina, where tea party candidates are challenging, The Hill reported.

Meanwhile, the head of Heritage Action is vowing to challenge GOP leaders on a number of fiscal issues — and to keep active with grassroots activists.

“Lawmakers do not have a monopoly on information, and we will continue to communicate directly with their constituents on important legislation as it moves through Congress,” Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation think tank, told the Journal.

He said most lawmakers “will find it difficult to go back home and defend votes that increase spending, increase deficits and undermine the rule of law.”

Editor’s Note: 5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . . 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obamacare Fumbling Continues With Newest Quick-Fix.


Image: Obamacare Fumbling Continues With Newest Quick-Fix

By Cathy Burke

Moving deadlines and quick-fixes have been the hallmark of Obamacare from the start, and the fumbling continued Monday with an abrupt change-of-date giving the uninsured a brief 24-hour extension, until Christmas Eve, to sign up for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

“We’re just trying to make sure everyone who wants to get enrolled to be covered by Jan. 1 is able to do that,” White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri told MSNBC on Monday, according to Politico. “We still consider the end of the deadline to be today, but we’re going to try to accommodate people who try to get it done [Monday].”

The HealthCare.gov Twitter account said record demand prompted a “fail-safe” extension, Politico reported — even though Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille sent a decidedly mixed signal.

“The deadline for signing up for coverage to start Jan. 1 is today,” her statement said, Politico reported. “We recognize that many have chosen to make their final decisions on today’s deadline, and are committed to making sure they can do so. Consumers should not wait until tomorrow. If you are aiming to get coverage Jan. 1, you should try to sign up today.”

The confusion is all too familiar. In October, Obamacare insurance buyers were operating  on the assumption they had until Dec. 15 to pick a plan if they wanted coverage beginning Jan. 1.

A month later, however, the no-later-than deadline was stretched to Dec. 23 — even as the Department of Health and Human Services was pushing back its deadline for when the first month’s insurance premium would come due, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 10.

It’s not just the deadlines that have kept Americans guessing.

On Dec. 19, the administration announced its most major “fix” for Americans who had lost their coverage because it didn’t measure up to Obamacare standards: changing policy to help people make the deadline to replace their dropped plans.

Those with inadequate insurance who got dumped by their insurance carriers were then allowed to claim a “hardship exemption,” giving them the option to buy cheaper, minimal coverage normally available only to people under 30.

“This is not a new policy,” Palmieri said Monday, Politico reported. “We merely clarified on behalf of a group of senators who asked the same questions on behalf of their constituents.”

“We actually don’t think in reality a great many people will avail themselves of this option,” she said. “We just want to make sure that people understand they have this option.”

Another Obamacare mandate “fix” came Nov. 14 — a week after President Barack Obama apologized to insured Americans whose plans were dropped despite his oft-repeated promise that would never happen under the new law — asking insurers to offer the sub-par coverage for another year.

The president switched the mandate for small businesses too, announcing last July that he was bumping the deadline requiring companies with 50 or more employees to offer insurance from Jan. 1, 2014, to Jan. 1, 2015.

Reuters contributed to this report

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Issa: Sebelius Reneged on Meeting to Discuss ACA Security.


Image: Rep. Issa: Sebelius Reneged on Meeting to Discuss ACA Security

By Cathy Burke

In the latest volley of a protracted battle over the Obamacare website, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa says Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius backed out of a date to discuss security issues, The Hill reports.

“It’s difficult to have a serious dialogue when the other party walks back an offer after we’ve said yes,” a statement from Issa’s House Oversight Committee said.

Issa had agreed to a meeting Tuesday, after revealing that documents from a contractor for the website showed federal officials knew the site was “vulnerable” before its Oct. 1 launch.

The administration has balked at handing over sensitive data, fearing it will be leaked — and even suggested Issa couldn’t be trusted with the information.

Issa and Sebelius have been feuding since October, when the lawmaker subpoenaed her for website-related documents, accusing the administration of “failure to provide answers” about what led to the botched launch of HealthCare.gov.

HHS official Jim Esquea wrote to Issa that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also wants in on the briefing, and that HHS is now trying to work out a meeting between Republicans and Democrats, The Hill reports.

“In light of these requests and the seriousness of our concerns, we would like to work with majority and minority staff for the committee to schedule such a meeting with you” and other leaders, he wrote in the Wednesday letter.

Esquea emphasized there have been no serious attacks on the website; he said HHS could have cybersecurity experts brief the committee, The Hill reports.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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