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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Republicans Would Be Foolish To Impeach Obama Unless They Have Control Of Both The House And The Senate! Otherwise, There Is No Chance Of Conviction!

Ed Kilgore thinks House Republicans may be moving toward attempting to impeach President Barack Obama on the spurious grounds of the phony Benghazi scandal. Is he right?
I’ve gone back and forth on this over the years. In 2009, I said in an offhand comment that “If Republicans take back the House, the odds are very good that they will impeach Barack Obama.” I soon realized I had spoken too soon. Although I believed that some Republican backbencher (OK, I predicted Michele Bachmann, but any of the radicals seemed likely) would introduce articles of impeachment at some point, the incentives and the attitudes of Republican leaders tended to make itunlikely that they would go ahead with a spurious impeachment.
I saw two impediments to impeachment. First, most Republicans believe that impeaching Bill Clinton backfired in the 1998 elections (and don’t think it was responsible for George W. Bush’s victory in 2000).
Second, even though scandal-mongering is lucrative for Republicans, impeachment attaches an end-point to a scandal once the Senate votes against removal. Why not just keep “investigating” indefinitely?1
A counterargument is the intense fear among House Republicans of being called RINOs, which might make them unwilling to stand against impeachment if the radicals get serious. There's also the possibility that the closed conservative information feedback loop might convince them that whatever nonsense they settle on as a reason for impeachment is widely shared by everyone except a handful of socialists.
There’s another reason Republicans might be tempted: They might be worried (foolishly, in my view) that Hillary Clinton would be an unusually strong general-election candidate, and they see Vice President Joe Biden as an easily defeated buffoon who Democrats would be stuck with after Obama was removed.
What’s most likely, however, is that House Republicans like the idea of having a select committee empowered to spend the run-up to the 2016 election investigating Democrats in general and Clinton in particular. If I had to predict an outcome, I’d say the Benghazi committee will become just a general Clinton investigative committee, looking into things far afield of Benghazi. That is far more likely than impeachment.

ObamaCrapCare--Insures Mostly Previously Insured And Has Small Impact On Previously Uninsured. That Is Definition Of Failure!

5/10/2014 @ 7:48AM |21,866 views

New McKinsey Survey: 74% Of Obamacare Sign-Ups Were Previously Insured

One of the principal flaws in the coverage of Obamacare’s enrollment numbers to date has been that the press has not made distinctions between those who have “signed up” for Obamacare-based plans, and those who have actually paid for those plans and thereby achieved enrollment in health insurance. A new survey from McKinsey indicates that a large majority of people signing up are now paying for their coverage. This is progress for the health law. But the survey still indicates that three-fourths of enrollees were previously insured.
Two months ago, I wrote about a prior McKinsey survey that found that the vast majority of people signing up for coverage in 2014 were previously insured, and that of the minority who had been previously uninsured, only 53 percent had paid their first month’s premium.
McK enroll Feb 2
The upshot of that figure was that of the people who had actually enrolled in a new plan in 2014, the vast majority had been previously insured. Another way to say that is that for all of the talk about 7-million this and 8-million that, Obamacare’s expansion of coverage to the uninsured was smaller.
New data: 83% of previously uninsured have paid up
The new McKinsey data indicates that the proportion of uninsured individuals paying for coverage has shot up, from 53 percent in February to 83 percent in April. For previously insured individuals, the percentage of payers increased from 86 to 89 percent.
The survey data was collected from 2,874 individuals whose incomes made them qualified for Obamacare exchange subsidies: between 100 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid, and between 138 and 400 percent in states that have. (For a childless adult, this means incomes between $11,670 or $16,105 and $46,680.)
McK enroll Apr 1
Hence, despite a lot of noise in the blogosphere on this topic, the McKinsey survey is likely to be mostly capturing individuals who have purchased coverage on the various Obamacare exchanges. (With some exceptions, you can’t get the Obamacare premium subsidy if you buy your plan outside of the exchanges.)
Indeed, in the notes to the survey, the McKinsey authors—Amit Bhardwaj, Erica Coe, Jenny Cordina, and Ruchira Sara—write that “some of the respondents purchased coverage through channels other than the online exchanges.” (Emphasis added.) We can’t presume that the stats for subsidy-eligible people buying coverage off-exchange differ in any meaningful way from those buying on-exchange.
Only 22% of Obamacare sign-ups are paid, previously uninsured enrollees
However, the proportion of individuals purchasing ACA plans who had been previously uninsured remained low. In February, McKinsey reported that only 27 percent of those selecting a new 2014 plan were previously uninsured; in April, the proportion was 26 percent.
McK enroll Apr 2
Combining that with the payment figures: of the people signing up for new ACA plans in 2014, only 22 percent were previously uninsured individuals who have paid for coverage and therefore enrolled in health insurance. That’s a meaningful improvement from February’s 14 percent figure, but it’s still low.
McKinsey data consistent with feedback from insurers
Earlier this week, representatives of the insurance industry testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding enrollment trends in the exchanges. Four of the five witnesses stated that more than 80 percent of their sign-ups had paid for coverage. That’s consistent with what McKinsey found, and also with my own discussions with insurers.
Last week, the E&C Committee published a report indicating that only 67 percent of signer-uppers had paid; however, their data included in the denominator people who have yet to pay because their payments aren’t yet due.
Bottom line: Exchanges are having modest impact on the uninsured
Obamacare is beginning to expand coverage to the uninsured; however, it’s far from clear that the exchanges specifically are a primary engine. About 1 million people have gained coverage from Obamacare’s under-26 “slacker mandate” (not 3 million, as is commonly suggested); another 3 million or so have gained coverage from the law’s expansion of Medicaid. Of the 8 million sign-ups on the exchange, we can only be confident that around a quarter—2 million—were previously uninsured.
What the exchanges appear to be doing is mainly helping people who were previously insured. If you’re 62 years old, say, and your income is $30,000, and you were paying for your own coverage before, you’re now eligible for plans that are much cheaper for you, thanks to taxpayer-funded subsidies and higher premiums for young people.
Of course that means that other people are paying more. “My old plan was canceled under Obamacare,” an exasperated Californian told me last week. “The new Obamacare plan costs twice as much, and the deductibles are higher. And yet Obama is counting me as one of his 8 million people!” But hey—at least he has maternity coverage.

Local Police Getting Armed To The Teeth. Soon They Will Be Flying Missile Firing Drones! When Will The Militarization Of Local Police End?

Austin Police to Get New $200K Armored SWAT Vehicle

Although they are rarely used, the Austin Police Department will soon welcome a brand new military-style SWAT vehicle that could cost more than a quarter million dollars.
The LENCO BearCat soon to be seen in the streets of Austin, Texas.
Writing for, Julie Wilson reports:
The Austin City Council [recently] approved up to $270K for the purchase of a LENCO BearCat armored vehicle.
The purchase is meant to replace one of two armored military-style vehicles already owned by the Austin Police Department (APD).
Although it sounded like the existing vehicles are rarely utilized, the mayor said they’re “very old,” and need to be replaced.
According to Mayor Lee Leffingwell, the new vehicle could potentially be used in hostage situations or situations “where somebody might be cornered.”
While its possible uses are vaguely defined at best, many people worry that military-style SWAT vehicles like the BearCat would be used in another Boston-style martial law lockdown.
It also makes one wonder… what’s next for local police forces? M1 Abrams tanks?

Republicans On Benghazi Select Committee Are Impressive. Most Are Lawyers, Many Are Prosecutors.

Boehner Stacks Benghazi Select Committee With Legal Powerhouses

Friday, 09 May 2014 05:16 PM
By Sandy Fitzgerald
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House Speaker John Boehner's selection of seven Republicans on a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic staff members in September 2012 reveals a mix of male and female lawmakers who bring a variety of experience and political power to the table.

The committee, which is being led by Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., includes Republican Reps. Susan Brooks, Indiana; Jim Jordan, Ohio; Mike Pompeo, Kansas; Martha Roby, Alabama; Peter Roskam, Illinois; and Lynn Westmoreland, Georgia, reports The Washington Post. 

Boehner announced the committee earlier on Friday, including a message on Twitter inviting Americans to "meet your majority members."

Westmoreland, a building construction executive, is the only member of the committee who is not an attorney by trade.

Out of the group, four are fairly new lawmakers. Gowdy, Pompeo, and Roby were elected to the House during the Republicans' sweep in 2010, and Brooks is a freshman representative who was elected in 2012.

"This investigation is about getting answers for the families of the victims and for the American people," Boehner said in a statement, reports The Hill. 

"These members have each demonstrated a commitment to this goal, and I have confidence that they will lead a serious, fact-based inquiry. As I have expressed to each of them, I expect this committee to carry out an investigation worthy of the American lives lost in Benghazi."

Gowdy, a former prosecutor with 16 years of prosecutorial experience, including six years on the federal level, has been pushing for further investigation into the Benghazi attacks since the a few days after they happened, saying last week that he has evidenceof a "systematic, intentional" effort by the Obama administration to withhold documents from Congress about the attacks.

The tea party Republican is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, reports The Post, and has been described as a key ally of committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Gowdy also chairs a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee on immigration policy.

Brooks, the only freshman representative picked for the Benghazi committee, is also a former federal prosecutor, giving the panel a second member with investigative and prosecutorial experience. She is one of the two committee members who was not a member of four House committees — Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight — that have already investigated the Benghazi attacks.

She was appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana in 2001 by then-President George W. Bush and is a former deputy mayor of Indianapolis. 

Jordan is the former head of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus for conservative Republicans, and has served as a liaison for several top House GOP leaders. Like Gowdy, Jordan served on the Oversight Committee, which has already investigated the Benghazi attacks, The Post reports.

Pompeo, a retired captain from the U.S. Army, is the select committee's only military veteran. He also serves on the Intelligence Committee and has been mentioned as a possible chairman after Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., retires, although serving on the investigation may suggest that he won't be picked to head Intelligence, The Post speculated Friday.

Pompeo graduated first in his class from West Point in 1986 and and is the founder of Thayer Aerospace, where he served as CEO for more than a decade, providing components for commercial and military aircraft before becoming president of Sentry International, an oil-field equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company.

Roby is a former member of the Armed Services Committee and a prominent female spokesperson for the Republican Party. Prior to being elected to Congress, Roby worked as an attorney and served as a city councilman in her hometown of Montgomery.

She has already lead one investigation into the attacks as chairwoman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, probing the military’s preparation and response.

Roskam, as the House chief deputy whip, is the select committee's political link to Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, The Post reports. He is a senior member of the select committee, having been elected to the House in 2006, and since that time has become a mentor to the many newer Republican House members. Roskam, like Brooks, has not served on any of the other panels that have already investigated the attacks.

He practiced law in Illinois and represented Chicago's western suburbs in both the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate, where he served alongside then-state Sen. Barack Obama, where they partnered to enact reforms to the state’s criminal justice system.

Westmoreland, who has been named as the deputy chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is credited with leading led GOP redistricting efforts in the wake of the 2010 Census that helped Republicans retain a large majority in the House.

He founded his own building company, L.A.W. Builders, and served in the Georgia State House for 12 years before coming to Washington.

He serves on the House Financial Services and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

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