Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Confusion between care and insurance guarantees costs will rise

original article: When Replacing ObamaCare, Remember Health Insurance Isn’t Health Care
March 7, 2017 by WILLIAM M BRIGGS

Big Louie whispers to you, “Say, Mac. The fix is in. The Redskins are throwing it to the Browns. It’s all set. Guaranteed.”

“No, kiddin’, Louie?”

“I’m tellin’ ya. Now listen. I want you to bet me the Skins win.”

Wha…? But you just told me ….”

“You aren’t paying attention. What’s wrong with you, Mac? You want trouble? I said the Skins will lose and you will bet they’re going to win. Now gimme sixty bucks that says the Skins will win.”

“Hey! You don’t have to be so rough …”

“Say, these twenties are new! Considerate of you. Listen. Don’t be so glum. You’re contributing to a good cause: me.”

What Insurance Is

Any of this remind you, Dear Reader, of the insurance business? It shouldn’t. Yet the word insurance has undergone a strange metamorphosis, which is caused, as you won’t be surprised to learn, by government.

Insurance used to be a bet you would make that you hoped you wouldn’t win. You went to an insurer and made a bet that something bad would happen, say, you got cancer or your house would burn down. The insurer figured out how much it would cost to pay you to fix the bad thing. He then said, “Okay, gimme Y dollars, and if the bad thing happens, I pay you X.” If you didn’t like Y or X, you negotiated with the insurer until a pair of numbers were mutually agreeable — or you agreed to part ways.

But suppose you told the insurer, “I have cancer. It will cost X to treat. I want to bet with you that I get cancer. What’s the minimum Y I should pay you?”

The insurer would either laugh you out of his office, as he commiserated with you about the sad state of your health, or he would pick a Y greater than X. Why? Because it was guaranteed that the insurer would pay out X. Why would he ever take an amount less than X?

The Government “Fix”

Because government, that’s why. Because your cancer is a “pre-existing condition” and it was seen as cruel and heartless for the insurer not to lose money on your behalf. But government forced the insurer to lose money. Government enjoyed playing Robin Hood. Hood as in criminal, crook, confidence trickster (did you not know that? Big Louie knew).

However, because the entities that comprise government move in and out of insurers (and their banks), the government also took pity. Government knew insurers had to make up their forced deficits. So it mandated that citizens who did not want to make a bet with any insurer had to give the insurer money for bad things that would almost never happen. ObamaCare became Big Louie muscling twenty-somethings to insure themselves against Alzheimer’s.

Thanks to Supreme Court Justice Roberts, you being forced to fork over funds to a private entity was called a tax. (Same thing Big Louie calls it!) Thus, not only was the word insurance gutted of most of its actual meaning, so was tax. Orwell lives.

Of course, insurers assisted in their own demise. They, like everybody else, were happy to let folks conflate the incompatible terms health insurance and health care. Once people could no longer keep these separate in their minds, the end of insurance was guaranteed.

What Insurance Isn’t

Insurers blurred these distinctions by separating themselves from the purely betting side of business, by dealing with people’s employers and not people (a condition ensconced by further Government mandates), by paying doctors and hospitals and not people, and by writing blanket instead of specific contracts. It came to be seen as normal for a person to expect “insurance” to pay for their kid’s visit to the doctor for sniffles.

Having the sniffles is almost guaranteed; it is thus numerically no different than a pre-existing condition. Having an insurer pay out on these “sure bets” meant that an additional layer of bureaucracy had to be built to handle the paperwork and shuffle funds around. Insurers unwisely moved to make a profit on these sure bets, which caused them to be penurious when paying out on large claims. Doctors had to increase their staff to handle the busywork. Monies that would have gone to pay for “bettable” diseases had to be diverted to pay for aspirins and bandages. Every step along the way caused premiums to be driven higher.

Now no one understand’s the true cost of care. Worse, we’re at the point where the true meaning of insurance is under active attack. A recent article in Bloomberg complains that it would be better if insurers used data to calculate a person’s chance of this or that disease — which is exactly what insurers should do. The author of that article also frets that insurers might “once again [be] allowed to charge extra for pre-existing conditions, an idea currently being debated in Congress.” In other words, the author is worried that insurers might once again be allowed to do what insurers are supposed to do, and what they must do if insurance is to work.

When Congress scraps ObamaCare, they must not replace it with any scheme that confuses insurance and care. This confusion guarantees that costs will go up and the bureaucracy will grow.

bureaucracy, crisis, cronyism, economics, government, health, health care, nanny state, politics, reform, unintended consequences

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Democrats defend pathetic status quo in education in anti-choice fashion

original article: On Education, the Left Protects a Miserable Status Quo
March 1, 2017 by Walter E. Williams

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, “The president’s decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country.”

Expressing similar sentiments, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond said, “I expect that Mrs. DeVos will have an incredibly harmful impact on public education and on black communities nationwide.”

Those and many other criticisms of DeVos, the Department of Education secretary, could be dismissed as simply political posturing if we did not have an educational system that is mostly mediocre and is in advanced decay for most black students.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, only 37 percent of 12th-graders were proficient in reading in 2015, and just 25 percent were proficient in math.

For black students, achievement levels were a disgrace. Nationally, 17 percent of black students scored proficient in reading, and 7 percent scored proficient in math. In some cities, such as Detroit, black academic proficiency is worse; among eighth-graders, only 4 percent were proficient in math, and only 7 percent were proficient in reading.

The nation’s high school graduation rate rose again in the 2014-2015 school year, reaching a record high as more than 83 percent of students earned a diploma on time.

Educators see this as some kind of achievement and congratulate themselves. The tragedy is that high school graduation has little relevance to achievement.

In 2014-2015, graduation rates at District of Columbia Public Schools, just as they did nationally, climbed to an all-time high. At H.D. Woodson High School, 76 percent of students graduated on time; however, just 1 percent met math standards on national standardized tests linked to the Common Core academic standards. Just 4 percent met the reading standards.

The low black academic achievement is not restricted to high school graduates of D.C. schools. The average black high school graduate has the academic achievement level of a white seventh- or eighth-grader.

As such, it stands as unambiguous evidence that high schools confer diplomas attesting that students can read, write, and compute at a 12th-grade level when in fact they cannot. That means they have received fraudulent high school diplomas.

There are many factors that affect education that educators cannot control. But they have total control over the issuance of a diploma.

Educators often complain that there’s not enough money. Census Bureau data show that as early as 2009-2010, Washington, D.C., spent $29,409 per pupil.

Starker proof that there’s little relationship between spending and academic proficiency is in the case of Detroit’s public schools. In 2009-2010, the nation’s elementary and secondary public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per pupil. According to the Census Bureau, Detroit schools spent $12,801 per pupil. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy claims that Detroit actually spent $15,570 per pupil that year.

There’s not much payoff for education dollars. The National Institute for Literacy found that 47 percent of the city’s adults are “functionally illiterate.” The Nation’s Report Card reports that Detroit students score the lowest among the nation’s big-city schools, and Washington is not far behind.

I’d ask Schumer how it would be possible for DeVos to make education any worse than it is for many Americans. I’d suggest to Richmond that if the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan were the secretary of education and wanted to sabotage black academic achievement, he couldn’t find a better method for doing so than keeping our public school system as it is.

Many black politicians and educators would never have their own children attend the rotten, dangerous schools that are so much a part of our big cities. Many black parents, captured by these schools, would like to get their children out.

But that’s not in the interest of the education establishment, which wants a monopoly on education. Black politicians and academics are the establishment’s facilitators.

That explains their hostility to DeVos. She would like to give more parents a choice.

bureaucracy, children, congress, corruption, crisis, Democrats, education, elitism, funding, government, ideology, nanny state, political correctness, politics, reform, relativism, scandal, tragedy

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Transgender laws may usurp the right to privacy

original article: Transgender bathroom laws have contributed to ‘voyeurism epidemic,’ says researcher
February 15, 2017 by Steve Weatherbe

A Canadian pastor who has researched 140 incidents of voyeurism in unisex and transgender-friendly spaces, says it is clear that transgender bathroom policies have contributed to the problem.

Paul Dirks of the New West Community Church in New Westminster, British Columbia, says his information, published on his WomanMeansSomething.com website, shows there is a “voyeurism epidemic.”

It also shows that policies establishing unisex or trans-friendly facilities are exposing biological women and girls to typical male crime and violence, he said.

“Policy makers and politicians need to understand that the push to open women’s spaces is taking place in the middle of a voyeurism epidemic,” Dirks wrote in The Federalist recently.

Most of Dirks’ cases involved male voyeurs using unisex washrooms, dressing rooms and swimming pool change rooms to video nude girls and women.

However, others involve men pretending or sincerely claiming to be “trans-women” who are behaving in typically male ways criminally.

Dirks was in Ottawa this week to lobby senators against Bill C-16, which would add gender identity and expression as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.

One of Dirks’ most important gleanings from several hundred academic studies on transgenderism is that males who claim to be females commit more crimes than women do. They also retain male patterns of sexuality.

“One of their most frequent sexual behaviors,” Dirks told LifeSiteNews, “is to use their male gentials insertively into women’s vaginas.”

Dirks insists his data debunks the oft-heard claim that there is no evidence that open or unisex bathrooms pose a risk to the girls or women who use them. For example, Mic Network published a story in 2015 titled Statistics Show Exactly How Many Times Trans People Have Attacked You in Bathrooms.

The story’s lead sentence reads “Surprise: There are zero reported cases of this happening.”

It then sources the misleading claim: “Spokespeople from the Transgender Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union told Mic that no statistical evidence of violence exists to warrant this legislation.”

But what Dirks’ data show is multiple cases involving unisex or transgender-friendly facilities where biological males captured images of women or girls with cell phones and miniaturized cameras. Dirks considers acts like these true violence. They leave victims with genuine psychological injuries.

Dirks’ database also contains many cases of male-pattern physical violence committed by “trans-women.” These include sexual and non-sexual assaults on women in prisons, women’s shelters, bars and taxis.

“There is nothing keeping a violent man or a sex offender from putting on a wig and entering a woman’s safe space, or making no change to their appearance at all,” Dirks writes on his website. But there is also “no way for a woman or a child to tell the difference” between a sincere “trans-woman” and one feigning a female persona for criminal purposes.

Dirks began his Women Means Something campaign only three months ago. Already he has made the unsettling discovery as he searched for news stories on retailers with unisex facilities that he was not alone. Voyeurs were on a similar hunt.

“I found forums for voyeurs where people were asking about good places to peep,” he said.

Dirks’ research has also uncovered a significant increase in voyeurism charges and convictions in the United Kingdom. Academic studies indicate that for each criminal charge there are dozens if not hundreds of actual incidents. These cases and the proliferation of recent incidents in his database are the basis for his claim of a “voyeurism epidemic.”

He has also found unexpected allies. “A significant number of de-transitioning women are coming to the fore,” Dirks told LifeSiteNews. These are women who once believed themselves to be men. They sometimes had their breasts cut off, their ovaries removed and their genitals reconstructed to cure their gender dysphoria. But it did not work. Now they are accepting their biological gender.

“In the midst of this grand social experiment, there are some horrible effects,” Dirks said.

Dirks’ womanmeanssomething.com website offers the video testimony of some of these women after they returned to identifying and living as women. “Officially, only 2 percent or 3 percent of female-to-male transgender de-transition,” says Dirks, but he believes the number and the percentage are both growing fast.

Dirks’ site offers links to feminist organizations that also oppose Bill C-16 and transgender activism. Because some feminists do not want to align with social conservatives, they have their own petition against the bill.

Dirks sees other signs that “the tide is beginning to turn.”

Academics and health professionals are waking up to the real and permanent physical injuries being done to teenagers with gender dysphoria through hormone treatments and surgery.

The immediate task for Dirks, however, is to defeat Bill C-16.

“I do hope members of the Senate want to do a good job actually dealing with some of these questions,” he told LifeSiteNews.

However, in British Columbia, there is another serious threat to the safety of children. The transgender agenda is expanding in public schools.

“I will pull my daughter from public school if she is put at risk from a biological male,” Dirks told LifeSite.

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Billion$ spent to fix failing schools; fail

original article: Obama administration spent billions to fix failing schools, and it didn’t work
January 19, 2017 by Emma Brown

One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.

Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.

The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.

“We’re talking about millions of kids who are assigned to these failing schools, and we just spent several billion dollars promising them things were going to get better,” said Andy Smarick, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has long been skeptical that the Obama administration’s strategy would work. “Think of what all that money could have been spent on instead.”

The School Improvement Grants program has been around since the administration of President George W. Bush, but it received an enormous boost under Obama. The administration funneled $7 billion into the program between 2010 and 2015 — far exceeding the $4 billion it spent on Race to the Top grants.

The money went to states to distribute to their poorest-performing schools — those with exceedingly low graduation rates, or poor math and reading test scores, or both. Individual schools could receive up to $2 million per year for three years, on the condition that they adopt one of the Obama administration’s four preferred measures: replacing the principal and at least half the teachers, converting into a charter school, closing altogether, or undergoing a “transformation,” including hiring a new principal and adopting new instructional strategies, new teacher evaluations and a longer school day.

The Education Department did not track how the money was spent, other than to note which of the four strategies schools chose.

Arne Duncan, Obama’s education secretary from 2009 to 2016, said his aim was to turn around 1,000 schools every year for five years. “We could really move the needle, lift the bottom and change the lives of tens of millions of underserved children,” Duncan said in 2009.

Duncan often said that the administration’s school-improvement efforts did not get the attention they deserved, overshadowed by more-controversial efforts to encourage states to adopt new standards and teacher evaluations tied to tests.

The school turnaround effort, he told The Washington Post days before he left office in 2016, was arguably the administration’s “biggest bet.”

He and other administration officials sought to highlight individual schools that made dramatic improvements after receiving the money. But the new study released this week shows that, as a large-scale effort, School Improvement Grants failed.

Just a tiny fraction of schools chose the most dramatic measures, according to the new study. Three percent became charter schools, and 1 percent closed. Half the schools chose transformation, arguably the least intrusive option available to them.

“This outcome reminds us that turning around our lowest-performing schools is some of the hardest, most complex work in education and that we don’t yet have solid evidence on effective, replicable, comprehensive school improvement strategies,” said Dorie Nolt, an Education Department spokeswoman.

Nolt emphasized that the study focused on schools that received School Improvement Grants money between 2010 and 2013. The administration awarded a total of $3.5 billion to those schools, most of it stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. “Since then,” she said, “the program has evolved toward greater flexibility in the selection of school improvement models and the use of evidence-based interventions.”

“Here in Massachusetts, it actually took several years to see real improvement in some areas,” Duncan said at the time. “Scores were flat or even down in some subjects and grades for a while. Many people questioned whether the state should hit the brakes on change. But you had the courage to stick with it, and the results are clear to all.”

Smarick said he had never seen such a huge investment produce zero results.

That could end up being a gift, he said, from Duncan to Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary and is a prominent proponent of taxpayer-supported vouchers for private and religious schools.

Results from the School Improvement Grants have shored up previous research showing that pouring money into dysfunctional schools and systems does not work, Smarick said: “I can imagine Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump saying this is exactly why kids need school choice.”

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Obamacare Premium Hikes Expected in 2017

original article: Get Ready for Huge Obamacare Premium Hikes in 2017
April 21, 2016 by Eric Painin

Amid rising drug and health care costs and roiling market dynamics, the spokesperson for the nation’s health insurers is predicting substantial increases next year in Obamacare premiums and related costs.

Without venturing a specific percentage increase, Marilyn Tavenner, the president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said in an interview with Morning Consult that the culmination of market shifts and rising health care costs will force stark increases in health insurance rates in the coming year.

“I’ve been asked, what are the premiums going to look like?” she said. “I don’t know because it also varies by state, market, even within markets. But I think the overall trend is going to be higher than we saw previous years. That’s my big prediction.”

If Tavenner is right, Obamacare will jump dramatically—last year’s premium for the popular silver-level plan surged 11 percent on average. Although Tavenner didn’t mention deductibles, in 2016, some states saw jumps of 76 percent, while the average for a 27-year-old male on a silver plan was 8 percent.

The warning to consumers from Tavenner, the former administration official who headed the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and oversaw the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov, the Obamacare website, comes at a time of growing uncertainty about the evolving makeup of the Obamacare health insurance market. With many insurers struggling to find profitability in the program, the collapse of nearly half of the 23 Obamacare insurance co-ops and this week’s announcement that giant UnitedHealth Group intends to pull out of most Obamacare markets across the country, anticipating future premiums and copayments is largely risky guesswork.

Premiums for the current 2016 season rose on average by 8 percent over the previous year, with 12.7 million Americans enrolling for coverage and government subsidies, according to CMS. Federal officials stress that the average rate doesn’t tell the whole story, and that in many cases after consumers shop around for the best price and government subsidies are applied, the actual premium increase is lower.

The Department of Health and Human Services did a study looking at what consumers were estimated to pay based on initial filings compared to what they actually paid. The study found that last year, the average cost of Obamacare marketplace coverage for people receiving tax credits went from $102 a month to $106 per month, a 4 percent change — despite warning from some of double-digit hikes.

Tavenner’s prediction may well be an opening gambit in the negotiations between the industry and insurance regulators about the 2017 premiums. As Morning Consult noted, many insurers have begun submitting opening bids on raising their premium rates and copayments, which will then be reviewed by the government and finalized this fall.

With a major presidential and congressional election looming this fall, the administration is doing all that it can to tamp down fears of major hikes next year in Obamacare insurance premiums and related out-of-pocket costs. Benjamin Wakana, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson, said on Thursday that changes in health care insurance rates are “not a reliable indicator” of what typical consumers on average will pay. “Marketplace consumers would do well to put little stock in those initial numbers,” he said in an email.

But Tavenner outlined several factors that she could put considerable pressure on premium prices next year. Those include:

  • A general rise in the nation’s health care tab. Overall, U.S. health care spending grew by 5.3 percent in 2014 – reaching an historic level of $3 trillion, after years of relative cost stability. Medical costs rise from year to year and will certainly affect the next round of premium hikes.
  • Soaring prescription drug prices. Insurers as well as government health care programs have been struggling to keep pace with rising drug prices, especially newer specialty drugs to treat the Hepatitis-C virus and cancer. Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., Allergan PLC and other companies have raised U.S. prices for scores of branded drugs since late December, with many of the increases between 9 percent and 10 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal .
  • The combination of market forces and limitations imposed by the Affordable Care Act will put enormous pressure on insurers to up their premiums. Under the law, there is a cap on insurers’ profits, companies are obliged to insure anyone regardless of their general health or pre-existing conditions, and the insurance plans must be structured in a certain way that often lead to losses.
  • Finally, two of three federal “risk mitigation” programs created under Obamacare are due to expire in 2017. Those programs were set up to protect insurers from huge, unexpected losses from providing health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. UnitedHealth and other major insurers have found it difficult to accurately anticipate their costs in providing coverage to sicker or older Americans, and set premiums that were inadequate to cover their risks. Without those programs to fall back on, many companies likely will seek to jack up their premiums.

“It’s kind of a myriad of factors,” Tavenner said in predicting rising premium costs. “It’s not one factor.”

Clare Krusing, director of communications for AHIP, said in an interview on Thursday that health insurance companies “are working through” these factors right now in setting rates for the coming year and deciding whether to participate.

“Plans are just beginning to file their rates, and it’s a long process with state and federal regulators, until those are approved,” she added. “Certainly plans are going to evaluate market conditions and regulatory approvals, and that will all impact their participation overall” in Obamacare.

bureaucracy, crisis, economics, government, health care, legislation, medicine, nanny state, public policy, reform, tragedy, unintended consequences

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Maybe you can’t keep your health care plan after all

original article: ObamaCare may force employers to pull the plug on millions of health plans, CBO report finds
March 28, 2016 by FoxNews

In the latest report to undercut President Obama’s “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” promise, the Congressional Budget Office projects millions of workers will leave employer-sponsored health plans over the next decade because of ObamaCare.

Some will opt to go on Medicaid, but others will be kicked off their company plans by employers who decide not to offer coverage anymore, according to a new CBO report titled,  “Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People Under Age 65: 2016 to 2026.”

“As a result of the ACA, between 4 million and 9 million fewer people are projected to have employment-based coverage each year from 2017 through 2026 than would have had such coverage if the ACA had never been enacted,” the report, released Thursday, said.

Employers now cover some 155 million people, about 57 percent of those under 65. That’s expected to decline to 152 million people in 2019. Ten years from now, employers will be covering about 54 percent of those under 65.

CBO said part of the shrinkage is attributable to the health care law: some workers may qualify for Medicaid, which is virtually free to them, and certain employers may decide not to offer coverage because a government-subsidized alternative is available.

Larger employers would face fines if they take that route.

But the agency also noted that employer coverage had been declining due to rising medical costs well before the health care law was passed, and that the trend continues.

The CBO also found that more people will enroll in Medicaid than previously predicted, though fewer will be covered through the public insurance marketplaces mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

The analysis underscores the view that the health care law is driving the nation’s gains in insurance coverage, which raises political risks for Republicans who would repeal it.

bureaucracy, crisis, economy, government, health care, law, legislation, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, regulation, unintended consequences

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Chelsea Clinton laments ‘crushing’ health care costs despite ObamaCare

original article: Chelsea Clinton laments ‘crushing’ health care costs despite ObamaCare
March 25, 2016 by FoxNews

Chelsea Clinton, in an implicit swipe at the impact of President Obama’s health care law, recently told voters that many Americans still are facing “crushing costs” from health insurance even under the Affordable Care Act.

The comments were captured in a video posted this week. In her remarks, Clinton said her mother — presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — could use executive action to curb those costs.

“We can either do that directly or through tax credits. And, kind of figuring out whether she could do that through executive action, or she would need to do that through tax credits working with Congress. She thinks either of those will help solve the challenge of kind of the crushing costs that still exist for too many people who even are part of the Affordable Care Act,” she said in the video, initially flagged by The Weekly Standard.

The video appears to be from a Hillary Clinton town hall event this past Tuesday at the Advanced Technology Center at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Wash.

It’s just the latest controversial comment from a member of the Clinton family; former President Bill Clinton lamented the “awful legacy of the last eight years” earlier this week while stumping for his wife, though a spokesman later said he was referring to Republicans during the Obama administration.

On health care, Hillary Clinton herself has staunchly defended the Affordable Care Act, while saying she would take any steps necessary to fix problems in the system.

In a January debate, she said, “As president, I’ll defend the Affordable Care Act, build on its successes, and go even further to reduce costs. My plan will crack down on drug companies charging excessive prices, slow the growth of out-of-pocket costs, and provide a new credit to those facing high health expenses.”

In December, Hillary Clinton was asked by a questioner at a town hall event why companies are favoring part-time employment over full-time employment. Clinton responded by saying, “the Affordable Care Act. You know, we got to change that because we have built in some unfortunate incentives that discourage full-time employment.”

A report from Freedom Partners released earlier this month states that the cost of health care premiums have outgrown both wages and normal inflation, resulting in an average rise of 28 percent from 2009 to 2014.

“With health care costs still rising faster than inflation six years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is clear that the law is not helping lower the burden of health care expenses for American families,” the report states.

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Report: 2015 Saw ‘Most Violent’ Persecution of Christians in Modern History

original article: Report: 2015 Saw ‘Most Violent’ Persecution of Christians in Modern History
January 20, 2016 by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS

The brutal, worldwide persecution of Christians during the past year makes 2015 “the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history,” according to a watchdog organization that has been monitoring Christian persecution for decades.

Open Doors, an organization founded in 1955 to assist persecuted Christians, publishes an annual “World Watch List,” documenting attacks on Christians and ranking the most hostile national environments for believers.

“The 2016 World Watch List documents an unprecedented escalation of violence against Christians, making this past year the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history,” Open Doors CEO David Curry said at the rollout of the list.

Persecution in “continuing to increase, intensify and spread across the globe,” he said.

At the top of the Watch List, for the 14th consecutive year, stands North Korea, where an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in labor camps. Carrying on as one of the last holdouts of Communist totalitarianism, North Korea bears a particular hatred for Christians, who are a constant reminder of accountability to a higher power than the state.

“Christianity is not only seen as ‘opium for the people’ as is normal for all communist states,” the report says. “It is also seen as deeply Western and despicable.” During 2015, thousands of Christians living in North Korea were forced to renounce their faith or flee under threat of death.

As in the case with last year’s report, the vast majority of countries experiencing acute Christian persecution are Muslim nations. In 2015, nine out of the top ten countries where Christians suffer “extreme persecution” had populations that are at least 50 percent Muslim, a phenomenon replicated in 2016.

The 2015 report found that “Islamic extremism is by far the most significant persecution engine” of Christians in the world today and that “40 of the 50 countries on the World Watch List are affected by this kind of persecution.”

The 2016 list places Iraq in second place, immediately after North Korea, with horrific Islamic violence dominating news headlines during 2015. Throughout the year, Christians were forced to flee their homes by the thousands or be killed.

Just this week, the United Nations released an extensive report on Islamic State violence in Iraq, and estimates that ISIS currently holds some 3,500 people, mostly women and children, in the country.

The report, jointly issued by U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq and U.N. human rights office in Geneva, declared ISIS atrocities in Iraq to be “war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”

Some of the crimes described in the report include executions by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings.

The other nations making the top ten in Christian persecution are Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, and Libya, all of which have Muslim majorities.

The report underscores the geographical extent of Christian persecution, and Curry highlighted the global nature of the problem, noting that it has become more acute not just in a few isolated regions, but “in every continent in every country.”

“The levels of exclusion, discrimination and violence against Christians is unprecedented, spreading and intensifying,” Curry added. “Christians, longing to stay in their home countries, are being forced to flee for their lives and for their children’s lives,” he said.

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Post Paris: Liberals Can’t Blame Terror Attack on Muslims

Never let a tragedy go to waste: minutes after the Paris terror attacks, Liberals rushed to blame the attacks on everything but Islam

Trifecta: Bill Whittle, Stephen Green, Scott Ott

bias, bullies, crisis, elitism, extremism, foreign affairs, hate crime, ideology, islam, news media, terrorism, tragedy, video, war

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THE MISSOURI POOP SWASTIKA IS THE MOMENT SOCIAL JUSTICE JUMPED THE SHARK

original article: THE MISSOURI POOP SWASTIKA IS THE MOMENT SOCIAL JUSTICE JUMPED THE SHARK
November 11, 2015 by MILO YIANNOPOULOS

No evidence has yet surfaced that a Nazi symbol made of human feces was left on campus at Missouri, less still that it was a racially-charged statement.

It seems more likely that the swastika is a hoax, just as — whisper it — so many other high-profile black victims on American campuses celebrated endlessly by progressive journalists turn out to be mendacious frauds.

But “facts” haven’t stopped students, and even some idiotic professors, from hurling themselves into grievance-fuelled hysteria on campuses all over the country, even at Yale. Such are the levels of hysteria following this fecal fabrication that Mizzou students hallucinated the KKK into existence yesterday.

Missouri’s poop swastika has been taken for granted as evidence of white supremacy terrorising innocent black kids by the media, who now attack anyone who dares to ask for a shred of proof that this thing ever existed. The progressive media establishment iscommitted to the idea of “white privilege,” the notion that somehow all white people are racist and so is society, even if no one’s actually aware of any bigotry and there’s no evidence for it anywhere.

So any time any black person offers up proof of white racism, the media leap on it as evidence of what they’ve been saying all along. The trouble is, eye-catching claims of racism and sexual assault, especially from college campuses, very often don’t withstand scrutiny. Think of Mattress Girl Emma Sulkowicz, the Duke Lacrosse case and the recent Rolling Stone debacle, to name just three.

If the Missouri swastika were real, there would be pictures of it. It would be the most Instagrammed poo in human history. If it were real, it could even be tested to see whether it comes from a white or black person. (You can examine something called haplotypes, apparently.) Of course, it’s possible that the police report will confirm the existence of this gruesome daubing, but… is it likely? Missouri students have been unable to produce a single witness to it.

FOX Sports has gone as far as to ask: “Is The Entire Mizzou Protest Based on Lies?” 

Whether it’s the pay gap, campus rape culture or “white privilege,” the media’s narrative of oppression when it comes to anyone who is not straight, white and male does not reflect reality. Poor white boys in fact have the worst start in life, especially in the UK. The public has scented this inconsistency, and is starting to ask the media tough questions about its racist assumptions. The media is responding by closing its comment sections.

Fortunately, a few brave souls in libertarian journalism and from comedy are striking back, with occasionally devastating effect. The entire new season of South Park has been dedicated to lampooning social justice warriors and their bullying tactics.

It’s now open season on social justice warriors and political correctness, both of which the entertainment industry and most serious journalists now recognise as a threat to creative freedom and freedom of expression. Public opinion is shifting, too: I’ve been reporting on social justice warriors in some way or another for most of my career, and it’s only the last few months I’ve noticed real hostility toward hand-wringers.

That hostility is now coming from the left, too, with left-wingers who don’t sign up to the progressive consensus, openly mocking trigger warnings and safe spaces, aghast at their own side for the inane drivel now published daily on sites like Vox, Buzzfeed, Mic, Vice and Gawker.

But what’s so brilliant about the social justice tendency is that it refuses to acknowledge when it has been beaten in the court of public opinion. SJWs aren’t just doubling down, they’re going full retard, installing codes of conduct that read like something from the Twilight Zone. Just this week, Vox instructed its staff not to “mansplain” to one another.

This is all good news, because it makes them easier to beat. The bitter white middle-class bloggers who fuel so much misery and division in American society are lurching ever further away from the public and even their own readers by ignoring facts and indulging in hurtful, speculative narrative based on discredited and preposterous far-left ideology.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the poop swastika comes to be seen as emblematic of the media’s abandonment of duty and capitulation to ideological lunacy. It would certainly be a fitting tribute to the most shitty, fascistic, delusional media tendency in living memory.

bias, bullies, civil rights, corruption, crisis, discrimination, diversity, elitism, extremism, hate speech, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, racism, racist, relativism, scandal, victimization

Filed under: bias, bullies, civil rights, corruption, crisis, discrimination, diversity, elitism, extremism, hate speech, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, racism, racist, relativism, scandal, victimization

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