Oh, The Tangled Webs…

Special Investigator Robert Mueller has made his presence felt by the charges he registered against Paul Manafort and Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates.  The charges involve the possibility of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians.

There are questions as to if or when Mueller’s inquiries will hit the Clinton cabal, and those are fed by things such as Tony Podesta, founder of the Podesta Group, a lobbying organization, and brother of John Podesta who has long known and deep ties to the Clintons.  The Podesta group has lobbied on its behalf of the Ukraine in the United States, including on the behalf of Uranium One, a Ukrainian company.

Mueller is given a lot of credit as a bulldog investigator.  Theoretically, he would be responsible for following any and all leads he surfaces no matter where they might lead.  That quite frankly is his charge, and any attempt to avoid doing so would probably cause an uproar in the District of Columbia that would be heard around the world.

All this having been said, the big questions are those that would involve Hillary Clinton and/or Donald Trump in a direct way.  Are either her or his ‘fingerprints’ on this case or is this something concocted by others deeper within one or both organizations without the knowledge of the two principals?  Did either principal have direct knowledge?  Is that provable beyond a reasonable doubt?

I may be the only person with this problem, but I cannot find an easy path for me to avoid making connections between the Clintons, or their emissaries, with the Russians in one form or another.  Both Bill and Hillary have gathered big bucks from a plethora of people, any one of whom could’ve had ties with others driving the contributions.

The very idea that one or both of the Clintons was involved in facilitating any number of behind the scenes deals for money in their personal pockets is not a stretch.  We know that has occurred…and I suspect it is still occurring.  Trump, on the other hand, has been very public in his bragging about his fortune and the source of the dollars he has made in his business lifetime.  Not all of us may approve, but there is not much of a question but that he made that money.

Then, of course, there is the ‘Trump dossier’ funded by the Clintons with either others’ money or their own, that was done to try to dirty him to the point that Hillary could win the election.  To not believe these two are capable of anything such as this is simply ludicrous.  They are capable and they have proved it time and again.

It is simply difficult to believe anything they have said or will say.  They have so disappointed so many people with their prevarications as to make anything they say or do suspect until proven otherwise.  It is not only time for them to retire from public life, but also to be audited by the Internal Revenue Service.

Their web-weaving needs to be put behind us.  And that does not begin to happen while they are still public figures.  Special Investigator Mueller can assist by looking closely at the Clintons and all they have touched.  He will, in so doing, show us all that he is above reproach.

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ObamaCare – 2018

Fasten your chip straps; especially if you rely upon what is colloquially known as ObamaCare.  Choices are down!  Prices are up!  Not what one would call a ‘great deal’.

Eight states have just a single ObamaCare carrier from which to select…not that this is a selection, of course.  It is then just a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition.  The ‘benchmark’ ObamaCare plan has rates 37% higher than a year ago.  That is the Silver Plan so not even the most costly benefit levels are found here.  If we simply assume rate increases of 25% per year, people would have seen a compounded rate increase of 745% by year five.  If the monthly rate had been $250 in year one, the rate on that same plan would be over $1,860 per month by year six.  The only solution would be taxpayer dollars given to those insurers hit hardest to make sure they stayed in business.

If this were to happen, and, at the moment it seems this example might be too small, then the plans lose people who think they might be able to do without coverage.  Those would typically be the people who think they are healthy enough to have only minor issues through the course of the coming year.  These are the very people these plans need in order to offset the losses that will only increase per capita over time.

There is but one obvious outcome: claims overtake even these egregiously high premium rates, for what is covered, and the plans fail.  The plans simply cannot pay the claims made by physicians and other healthcare providers.  I have mentioned the Death Spiral before and we are witnessing a death-spiral-in-the-making today; it has been in the making since day one given Obamacare’s construction, actually, but that apparently still needs some time to become recognizable.

To continue the review:  55% of enrollees will have just one or two carriers from which to choose.  The average tax credit will rise by 45% in 2018 compared to 2017.  Some 30% of enrollees will have no choice other than taking the ONE insurer offering in their world or getting out of ObamaCare.  If out, where do they go for coverage?

Beyond the limited, or completely absent, insurer selection, if only a single carrier is open for business in a given state, that drives all consumers into that plan and that assures that even that one plan will be hit and hit hard thus forcing the ultimate decision sooner rather than later.  The promises of reimbursement for excessive claims losses will become hollow as the dollar amount of those bail-outs becomes so large that government will shirk its responsibilities to the insurers.

Many of the participating insurers are not the giants but smaller organizations developed to get into this marketplace given assurances of government dollars should their claims be higher than premiums collected.  Government reneging on such promises will have but one effect: multiple ObamaCare insurers created for that business will go out of business with a huge debt left behind.

Then what?  Well, how about a true single-payer system such as many who supported ObamaCare really wanted in the beginning.  We know the liberals have been wishing for such a thing for years.  They want all of us to be on a government-run system.  They believe I think, in their heart-of-hearts, that this will be a good thing.  They seem unable to learn lessons from other single-payer plan blow-ups.  Somehow their plan would survive and thrive even though none have before.  They have a system to look at, the Veterans Administration, or VA, and they ought to be able to see the kinds of issues that arise in such programs.

The 2018 offerings are upon us.  The insurers have trained the agents they employ and those with whom they contract.  The offering period is shorter this year, so more work must be crammed into less time.  This will only exacerbate the whole process.  What might’ve been mere annoyances will become major problems.

In the meantime, the flaws in this system go unchanged even though one has to believe they’ve been recognized…maybe from the very beginning of ObamaCare.  The companies involved know what they’re doing.  They know the rules that have been set by the government; in some cases, those rules require the insurers to pay the cost of subsidies that used to come from the government.  It almost seems the government would like insurers to go bankrupt, doesn’t it?

This will further exacerbate the problems leading us closer and closer to the point of no return.  That point will be when the few remaining insurers recognize they will go broke if they continue to work with the federal government in what they thought originally was to be a partnership.

That realization will propel the country into government-provided nationalized healthcare.  This very same government has had problems with this function through the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital system network.  That hasn’t functioned very well in delivering what had been promised.  Corners have had to be cut as budgets became unable to bear the load heaped on the VA.

Why some think that a similar health plan offering to non-veterans will function well is a mystery…to me at least.  We have the example plainly before us.  We’ve had it for years.  We’ve seen that it has done nearly nothing but get worse year-over-year.  Why do some believe this system architecture will perform any better with magnitudes more patients involved?  Are these the very brightest minds we can find, or is it that we have intentionally ignored those minds in favor of minds that close on command?

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Opinions and the Workplace…

This is a very simple issue.  There is no place for employee/contractee opinions that differ from the employers’ opinions.  That includes the NFL and any and every other employer in this country.  When the employer is being represented by an employee, that employee is expected to uphold the best interests of the employer.

The only time that has a place is if the employee/contractor was hired for the express purpose of providing opinions within the bounds of whatever is stated in the employment agreement.

The idea that a professional sports player of any ilk ought to be able to express his or her opinion on current affairs is if the employer has requested that occur in which case I suspect the employer would’ve reserved the right of refusal if the piece didn’t represent the employer as the employer desired.

I doubt that any pro player (baseball, football, tennis, etc.) has such an agreement in place that does not mention the employers’ right to publish at the employers’ will.  I doubt that “acting out” is to be found in any professional athlete’s contract as part of the job.

Maybe the pro football players that seem intent on destroying the entities that pay them egregious amounts to play a “game” have taken a hit or two too many.  They were hired to quarterback, catch, block or run and not to make their personal notions known to the country while in the employ of the specific team.  They have time to engage in those activities when they have retired or when they own their own team or company.  Then they can suffer personally what we will heap upon them if we do not like it or believe it improper.

That this ‘issue’ has been permitted to ferment for the time it has makes me wonder about the NFL and about the team owners.  I don’t think any TV network would permit the weather guy or gal to make ribald comments on open air or even on their own for so long as they are under contract.  This is not ‘rocket science’; it is common sense.

If the National Anthem is going to be part of the opening ceremonies for games of any type, then the proper protocol is required.

PERIOD!

PARAGRAPH!

AMEN!

 

 

Boy Scouts of America…

I think back to my scouting days as a youth and leading into my pre-adulthood.  Those were formative years for me, and I think for all young men as they reach maturity.  I remember Camp Decorah, pitching tents, starting campfires, always be courteous and being proud to wear the uniforms and my merit badges on a sash as I progressed through the stages of scouthood.

What has our society wrought through these many years?  The Boy Scouts of America, as of October 1st, have now determined that girls can become members.  Next year, the Cub Scouts will admit girls and apparently, the ultimate goal is for girls to become Eagle Scouts.

Openly gay members have been accepted since 2015, and in January they voted to admit transgender boys according to an article in The Weekly Standard’s October 23, 2017, issue.  The Girl Scouts are apparently very concerned since the next step would be for girls to become Boy Scouts if they chose.  But, those same Girls Scouts began accepting transgenders as members in 2011.

We reap what we sow, and this is nothing but a perfect reflection of just how fouled up our society is becoming/has become.  I am thankful that my children have been adults for a long time, but I confess that I am very discouraged as I watch the degradation of our society.  As if that is not enough, I see that degradation increasing in its pace.

Our society is becoming a “mashup”.  That word is defined as ‘a mixture or fusion of disparate elements’.  We all know, or should know, that we humans are never satisfied with ‘a little’ of anything.  We always seem to crave more of whatever it is.  Unfortunately, that no longer simply applies to material things.

We humans have moved onto very dangerous turf.  We’re now thinking of ourselves, apparently, as akin to The Creator but smarter than He.  We seem, quite simply, to believe that we know better than God.  That is, unfortunately, not a new phenomenon.  This devolution has been going on since the Garden of Eden.  But, have we now managed to take that final step on this slippery slope?  How much further can this movement be taken?

This all has become a mainstream America ‘thing’.  The Weekly Standard editors see this as a movement that will fizzle,  as “a victim of its own incoherence” as it said in this piece.

I’d like to be able to believe they are accurate in their supposition, but I am fearful they are not.  We always seem to want just a bit more of everything.  We are, quite frankly, our own worst enemies and we are now dealing with issues that significantly transcend our “pay grades”.

This isn’t some cockeyed movement of the political left.  I would venture that those making these kinds of societal decisions were anything but that of conservatives.  This is a liberal move to recast our society into what they seem to believe will be a better place.

We see if we’ll but take the blinders of political correctness off, very basic changes in the fabric of our lives.  The liberal movement has long ago taken the step from politics into the very fabric of our lives…into our faith system that has been with us since the Creation.  And they did it deftly as us conservatives thought we couldn’t possibly be seeing what it appears was actually happening.

The frog in the water metaphor seems quite appropriate.  As us conservatives observed, we apparently couldn’t quite believe our eyes and chose to stay quiet.  The water is just coming to a boil and we’re trapped in our own mess of historic hesitant observation.  If you have not been a conservative before, this is the time to get right with all that matters.

If you are or claim to be a conservative, this is the time for action…in fact, it may be past the ideal time for action, but I believe we can pull ourselves out of this pot of about-to-be-boiling water.

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Families…

There are Families and then there are Families.  Some of the more infamous or famous Families would include the Gambino Family in the criminal world and the Clinton Family in the political world.  Since its apparent origin in Arkansas with the Governorship of William Jefferson Clinton, formerly William Jefferson Blythe III at birth, this family has figured in the American political scheme of things.  It is up to each of us to determine what our take on the Clinton Family amounts to today.

For some, the Clintons are the best thing to happen since sliced bread.  For others, the take is a definite opposite.  That seems to be the case since the Clintons emerged into the public eye in Arkansas.  That seems a couple of normal lifetimes ago given their multiple escapades.

Jonah Goldberg has a piece on Townhall.com which makes for interesting reading.  That piece is titled “The Clintons Are Just Not That Into You” giving you a feel for what you’ll find if you ‘Google’ that.  Of course, the Russians figure in this as does the Clinton use of abuse, exploitation, and deceit as suits their familial purpose at the time.

Do you remember “Bimbo Eruptions”?  How about the nickname “Slick Willie”?

I think most of us remember the various schemes and unsolved mysteries that have followed Bill and Hillary Clinton through the years.   I think most of us have likely marveled, not necessarily appreciatively, at their ability to emerge from these scandals relatively unscathed while others who were involved were dealt with very differently by history.

I still marvel that the Democratic Party would nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for the office of the President of the United States of America with all the detritus that was to have surfaced again.  There is definitely some kind of hold that the Clinton Family has over that political party.

Each of us has, truth be told, at one time or another, done something or not done something that we’d prefer not be made public.  Maybe that would be something so innocent as forgetting to pay for a candy bar we ate while we were shopping for groceries.  Certainly, whatever we did or didn’t do does not likely rise to the level of the numerous instances we see in the Clinton Family.  Were that not the case, we’d likely, in my opinion, have some kind of criminal record tagging along behind us.

A quote from Goldberg’s piece is this:  “The Clintons will always abuse, exploit, deceive and make fools of their biggest fans and friends, the press, the public and even each other.”

It is nearly impossible to keep up with all the times when they have demonstrated their apparent, and seemingly true, belief that they are simply better than any and everyone else.  They are permitted to do what you or I would pay a penalty for having done.  That has been the case since we became aware of Bill and Hillary, and now Chelsea and it appears that will always be the case.

Through all this ‘stuff’, they have managed to stay out of jail, make millions upon millions of dollars and still roam the streets without warrants having been issued.  As Goldberg states, “the rules are for other people”.  He seems to have hit upon the truth in the case of the Clintons.  There is some perverse charm in their collective lives, so far at least, that protects them and enables them to continue with lives immune to the laws you and I are required to observe else we serve time in an institution.

Obviously, not all families are created equal…at least in the eye of the law…else justice would have been rendered some time ago.

All this a sad, sad commentary on both our country and the Clinton Family that appears destined to go on for many years to come given the time that has already elapsed.  I encourage you to read Goldberg’s piece.  He is among my favorite writers.

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Human Frailties…

We are frail creations.  I am personally reminded of that daily.  There are members of Congress that apparently are not afflicted with any frailties.  Maxine Waters comes to mind as does Frederica Wilson, both members of the House of Representatives, and both Democrats.  Waters is from California and Wilson is from Florida.  Both are what I would label as ‘bombastic’ ladies being given to verbal outbursts that oft get ahead of their brains, or so it would seem.  Ms. Wilson adds to her persona by wearing colorful cowboy hats so she can be recognized instantly.

There is not one of us who is without frailties.  I prove that to myself every day even though I set out to avoid showing my shortcomings.  I marvel at people such as these two since it would seem that they have no thoughts about frailties, certainly not personal frailties.  I marvel at the voters who return them to office every two years since they are members of the House of Representatives.  Their districts are obviously heavily Democrat.

There are also some Republicans who seem to get themselves re-elected regularly about whom I might have these same thoughts, but I digress.

We are human.  That goes for us voters as well as it goes for those we elect or send home.  My issues center on those who seem to have elevated themselves in their mind’s eye to statures that are well above they’re actual positions.  These two people instantly come to mind when I think of empty suits or dresses in Congress.  There may be some laws on the books they authored or signed onto before they were passed.  That would happen if you simply went to your congressional office every day during open sessions.

I am very much taken aback at the level of interest the press seems to show in people of this ilk.  Possibly that centers on them both being caricatures of a Congresswoman who are always looking for cameras and microphones.  There is time to be filled, so reporters are likely to settle for anything as the time for broadcast approaches.  Perhaps they are given face time because of their political affiliation.  Perhaps they are simply the most colorful people available.

There are, frankly, few in Congress who shy away from a television camera.  The more their constituents see of them, the more they think they’re well-represented.  The appearance on television is magic.

Would that more voters could see the making of congressional sausage.  It is not a pretty sight especially when something of major import is being batted back and forth.  Dems have seldom seen a great bill from a Republican author; the same holds true for Republicans and Democrat authors.

Democrats are more closely aligned than are Republicans.  There are Republicans and then there are Conservatives within the Republican caucus.  That makes the difference in what we see and therefore assume to be the case.  We see a harried Speaker of the House whose job it is to herd enough cats into the burlap sack to get a bill passed.  The Freedom Caucus, self-named, has sufficient clout as to be able to thwart bills if they choose.

The two flamboyant members of the Democrat Party identified above are, from my perspective, given a pass by the press.  That may be, in part, due to their being black females and it likely has much to do with them being Democrats.  Their frailties, from my perspective, actually work to their advantages given the world in which they move.  I see them more in the light of comediens than of politicians of national stature, and they seem to play their parts to a “T”.  The bombast is always present as if cued with the lights of the camera hitting them.

All this having been said, their votes count the same as anyone else’s in the House, and they stand every two years rather than every six years for Senators.  So, they have staying power in their Districts.  Rather than either of these ladies being labeled as frail beings, I think I’d have to see the voters in their districts wearing that label given their ability to see these as great minds needing to be in Congress.

And we sometimes wonder why we get what we get in our Congress.

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Powerful Message…

This from Darrel W. McElvain who ends the piece with this statement: Copied and pasted…I’m not sure who the original author is but thanks.  I echo his thanks to the originator as well as to the faithful readers who sent it to me.

# # #

“I see you…

I see you, the professional football player, as you kneel down during the playing of the National Anthem…I see you, with your arm raised in protest…I see you thinking you are doing something to unite people over social and racial injustice.

I see you…

But more than that here is what I really see…

I see a man pushing the wheels of his wheelchair as he returns home from a foreign land unable to function as he once did, due to fighting to protect you as you kneel on the ground.

I see a young widow, dressed carefully in black, mourning the remains of her husband, hugging a coffin on the tarmac of an airport.  I see that same woman clutching a perfectly folded flag to her bosom as Taps is played at his graveside.  I see her young son, tears streaming down his face knowing his father would never come home again.  I see graveyards full of tombstones, here and overseas, with names of those fallen, with dates showing a much too early death.  I see so many, from so many different wars and conflicts, crosses, and stones.  They are too numerous to count.

I see the sacrifices made, the hearts broken, the tears shed, the shattered lives all in the name of freedom…all in the name of that red, white and blue piece of cloth that you choose to protest.

Social and racial injustice?  You who make millions of American dollars for playing a game in a country where you have more opportunity to make a better life for you and your family than anywhere in the world?  Really?  The hypocrisy of it astounds me.  First of all, if you really want to protest, give your money and time to make changes.  Give to those less fortunate than you.  Help those people get an education, buy them food and shelter.  Show them opportunities to make better decisions.  Teach them that they have a purpose in life.

If you really want to protest injustices…

Protest the treatment of veterans, who have to wait extremely long periods of time for healthcare, who are living under Interstate bridges, in boxes, who are committing suicide.  Today over twenty of them will take their lives out of hopelessness and despair.

There is no greater injustice than that.

Protest the loss of religious rights as some atheist complained so much that public prayer by a group of young players on an athletic field is not allowed.

When I see that flag, when I hear that song, when I sing those words, I give homage to those who died for this land, who continue to protect this land, who don’t know if and when they will ever see their loved ones again.  Some say that they died for your freedom so that you can take a knee.  I say they died for your freedom so you can stand proudly and be thankful that God blessed you enough that you can live in a country of so much opportunity.

Go ahead…Go ahead and kneel…Go ahead and be ungrateful…

I am watching…as are millions and millions of others.We don’t see a protest of unity…we see a protest of disgraceful ignorance.”