Right Wing Nut House


RINO Hour of Power: ‘The Dream’: 50 Years On

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 5:27 pm

Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and told a quarter of a million people of his dream of an American future where race didn’t matter in judging your fellow man, only the content of his character.

King, who spent most of his life as a Republican, never imagined that his descendents in the civil rights movement would make every effort to ensure that race would become the only thing that mattered and that one’s character was judged by politics, and not on any moral basis that King would have recognized.

Host Rick Moran and co-host Fausta Wertz will be joined on this week’s edition of the RINO Hour of Power by J. Christian Adams, a former attorney in the civil rights division, to talk about the state of Martin Luther King’s dream 50 years on.

We stream live from 8:00 - 9:00 PM Eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after then end of the show.

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RINO Hour of Power: How Nutty is the Republican Party?

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 4:43 pm

You won’t want to miss the next blockbuster episode of the RINO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and special guest host, Jazz Shaw of Hot Air.

Just how crazy are Republcans? Talk of impeachment - with no impeachable offense, shutting down the government to defund Obamacare - when Obamacare can’t be defunded, and a string of crazy, radical, extreme statements that scare the hell out of voters.

To discuss this issue, the hosts will be joined by Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller.

We stream live from 8:00 - 9:00 PM Eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after then end of the show.

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RINO Hour of Power: How Bad Will the Obamacare Rollout Get?

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 4:54 pm

You won’t want to miss the next stimulating episode of the RINO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and special co-host Rich Baehr of the American Thinker.

The Obama administration has canceled another requirement of the ACA - yearly limits on out of pocket cash consumers will have to spend on health care. The exchanges are a mess, security is suspect, and even Democrats are getting antsy about the political fallout from the law.

We’ll talk about all of this with Doug Mataconis of Outside the Beltway blog.

The show streams live from 8:00 - 9:00 PM Eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

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SNAFU, FUBAR, ClusterF–k: Welcome to the Rollout of the Affordable Care Act

Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 4:52 pm

As we advance toward the much anticipated rollout of Obamacare on October 1, the true horror of what Congress and the president have wrought is beginning to sink in. There is a growing nervousness that the state insurance exchanges not only won’t be ready, but may harbor a dangerous vulnerability that would allow hackers access to the personal information of consumers who sign up for insurance via the sites.

There is also a growing number of Democrats who are advocating a repeal of one of Obamacare’s major pieces; the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will arbitrarily rule on Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals. Howard Dean wrote in an op-ed last month that the IPAB would end up rationing healthcare for Medicare recipients and should be repealed. Also, in a vote last month, several Democrats broke from the pack and voted to delay the individual mandate for a year — the first real sign of dissension within the ranks as vulnerable members search frantically for a way to avoid responsibility for their vote to enact Obamacare.

Then there’s the exemption for members of congress and their staffs from some Obamacare requirements, while special rules have been written that would allow lawmakers to keep their generous tax-payer subsidy — up to 75% of their insurance premiums. Add that to the thousands of waivers granted to administration allies and large corporations who are exempted from the ACA for at least a year.

Beyond all of this, there is the threat that, in the process of trying to defund Obamacare, Republicans will force a government shutdown creating further chaos. A shutdown will not stop Obamacare from being implemented, but it will probably create additional confusion (if that’s possible) among consumers.

The US military has come up with several euphemisms that are apt descriptions of what we might expect on October 1 and beyond with Obamacare’s rollout; SNAFU (”Situation Normal, All F–ked up”), FUBAR (”Fu–ked Up Beyond All Recognition”), and the simple, declarative Clusterf–k. Given what we know, less than 60 days from the rollout, those may be some of the milder epithets we will hear from the American people once they begin to deal with the state exchanges, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the IRS, HHS, and the insurance companies themselves.

Perhaps the most serious threat to the rollout is the inexplicable and incompetent manner in which the government is trying to insure that a citizen’s personal information — massive amounts of which will be required to sign up for the insurance policies and get the subsidy — is protected and secure.

The news was dumped on an unsuspecting public last Friday and it wasn’t until midweek that it began to sink in that the government geeks responsible for designing a secure website to handle all the private information of American citizens had fallen months behind in testing the sites’ vulnerability. At issue is the Federal Data Services Hub that will connect the various federal agencies to the exchanges and allow the flow of information necessary to service the consumer. An inspector general’s report revealed that a “security control assessment” scheduled for May still hasn’t been performed and that other critical tests have also been delayed. It is now expected that a final report on security won’t be forthcoming until September 20 at the earliest and that a decision on whether the exchanges are secure enough to open won’t be made until September 30 — one day before the sites go live.

As this IDB editorial points out, the reason this comes as a surprise is because officials in the Obama administration lied to Congress about progress on securing the exchanges:

As far back as December 2012, Obama administration officials were insisting that the data hub at the center of the ObamaCare exchanges was nearly finished.

Yet all the while, they were pushing back deadlines or missing them altogether, to the point where, unless ObamaCare’s launch is delayed, millions of people’s privacy will be at risk.

Obama officials may, in fact, have flat-out lied to lawmakers about the data hub’s progress.

In February, Sen. Orrin Hatch pressed Gary Cohen — who is heading up much of the ObamaCare implementation efforts at the Health and Human Services Department — about the status of “service-level agreements” required with all the agencies before they can open their data to the hub. The agreements define services, responsibilities, performance and other terms for data sharing.

Hatch asked Cohen whether HHS had “signed service-level agreements with IRS, the Social Security Administration, homeland security and all the other agencies that will be providing information to the data hub.”

“We have,” Cohen said.

But at that time there were no service-level agreements in force, according to an inspector general report. HHS didn’t sign its first — with the IRS — until March. And all but two of the seven still haven’t been signed.

It isn’t a question of the sites being totally secure in order to open. A loophole in a 2002 law governing the security of government websites will allow the Health and Human Services chief information officer to sign off on opening the exchanges even if the level of security isn’t totally up to snuff.

In short, political considerations may enter into the decision whether to open the insurance exchanges despite known vulnerabilities. The PR disaster of delaying the opening of the exchanges could very easily outweigh the security concerns that might still be present due to the rush to get things done.

Even if the IT people meet their deadlines and everything is secure, that won’t prevent low level government workers and even total strangers from accessing someone’s personal information. It will be part of the job of bureaucrats to eventually vet the information being supplied by consumers, such as income levels and citizenship status.

Then there are the tens of thousands of “navigators” who will be assisting consumers who need help in signing up. They, too, will have access to some of your information in order to help you sign up for the right insurance plan, get the subsidy you are eligible for, and generally speed you on your way.

The most vulnerable point for hackers will be the data hub itself. The Obama administration has said that “The hub will not store consumer information, but will securely transmit data between state and federal systems to verify consumer application information.”

Oh really?

But a regulatory notice filed by the administration in February tells a different story.

That filing describes a new “system of records” that will store names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, taxpayer status, gender, ethnicity, email addresses, telephone numbers on the millions of people expected to apply for coverage at the ObamaCare exchanges, as well as “tax return information from the IRS, income information from the Social Security Administration, and financial information from other third-party sources.”

“The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic,” noted Stephen Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor. Now doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

One devoutly wishes this train wreck could be defunded, defrocked, demobilized, and de-stroyed. But even if the Futility Caucus in the Republican House were successful in shutting down the government, the Obamacare juggernaut would continue to roll forward. It may be hard for some Republicans to accept, but there it is. The current justification is that shutting down the government will give heart to the base and “prove” that the GOP congress really, truly, cross-their-heart-and-hope-to-die want to repeal Obamacare. One would think that 40 votes to repeal the law would convince most rational people, but when it comes to Obamacare, rational left the building long ago.

The argument is bizarre. Republicans in Congress should shut down the government to prove they’re as irrational as their base? Forget the political fallout. If you don’t want to believe the GOP will be blamed for a government shutdown, fine. How about responsible governance? It is an extreme, radical, unnecessary and ultimately self defeating gesture to shut down the government when the purported objective for doing so — defunding Obamacare — cannot be accomplished. Cheering up or firing up the base is not a legitimate reason to take such a drastic step.

No matter. The American people may very well destroy Obamacare before the fantasies of some Republicans are realized. Who is going to trust the government when they say that the exchanges are secure? Would they even tell us if there was a breach? And if the government’s expectations for millions of young invincibles to sign up in order to offset the cost of insurance for the sick isn’t realized because the youngsters are smart enough not to fool with a website that has gaping security vulnerabilities, the whole system could collapse of its own weight before it’s barely off the ground.

The incompetence of government may yet rescue us from this monstrosity of a law.


RINO Hour of Power: Is Al-Qaeda Playing us for Chumps?

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 4:31 pm

Join us for another rousing episode of the RINO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and special co-host Jeff Kropf.

A terror alert that experts say is the most serious in years or are the terrorists playing us for chumps? That topic, plus the RNC standing up to CNN and NBC by threatening to pull out of debates on those networks unless they drop plans to make Hillary Clinton movies.

We’ll discuss these and other topics with PJ Media’s Washington editor Bridget Johnson.

The show streams live from 8:00 - 9:00 PM Eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

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A Fight that Had to Happen

Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 12:49 pm

On the surface, the Christie-King-Establishment vs. Paul-Cruz-Libertarian donnybrook that has broken out over the last few days is about national security — specifically, the NSA snooping programs. In truth, national security is but the trigger to a much broader discussion that needs to happen. The fault lines that have developed over the last decade in the GOP have divided the party on spending, taxes, the size and role of government, immigration, gay rights, and America’s place in a changing world.

In short, the Republican party is in the process of reinventing itself. And the debate now underway between the two dominant strains of conservative thought will not only determine the future of the Republican party, but also have a great impact on who will be the GOP standard bearer in 2016.

Perhaps the biggest story in Republican politics in 2013 has been the rise of the Libertarian right in the Senate and the man who has shown genuine leadership ability in facilitating that rise. Rand Paul has stepped into a leadership void created by the ineffectiveness of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and altered the tone and tenor of Senate debates. The power axis of Paul, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas have given Senate Republicans something they haven’t had in years; voices that speak with a passion and coherence about principles while pushing a recognizable, consistent agenda.

It should come as no surprise that traditional, establishment Conservatives would find a way to fight back. But Chris Christie as the messenger? The Northeast Republican has the credentials, but would hardly be the first choice of most establishmentarians. Despite still being mentioned as a possible candidate in 2016, many rank and file Republicans have virtually abandoned Christie, given his embrace of President Obama just days before the 2012 election and his apostate views on gun control and immigration reform.

But Christie may not feel he’s dead yet. Speaking at the Aspen Institute on a panel with other GOP governors, the New Jersey governor came down hard on Senator Paul and other Libertarians for their opposition to the NSA surveillance programs.

As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought.

Did he mean Rand Paul specifically?

You can name any number of people and he’s one of them. These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have.

Accusing the Libertarians of being soft on terrorism exposes Paul’s main vulnerability Indeed, the whole non-interventionist strain that runs through the Libertarian right goes far beyond defending civil liberties and envisions a world with a greatly reduced role for America, a reduced military — indeed a revolutionary change in the national security state.

Christie’s attack was followed by a similar assault from Representative Peter King, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and a politician desperately looking for an issue to ride to the Republican nomination in 2016.

The New Yorker didn’t pull any punches:

“To me the overriding concern here has to be national defense, national security, and not be apologizing for America,” King said. “When you have Rand Paul actually comparing [Edward] Snowden to Martin Luther King, Jr., or Henry David Thoreau, this is madness. This is the anti-war left wing Democrats of the 1960s that nominated George McGovern and destroyed their party for almost twenty years. I don’t want that happening to our party.”

To accuse Paul of virtually “blaming America first” and mentioning George McGovern in the same breath is to throw down the gauntlet to the Libertarians on issues that have defined the Republican party for more than 40 years — unflinching support for national defense and a strong, aggressive, “American First” foreign policy.

For the knockout blow, King used the “I” word to describe Paul and the Libertarian tribe:

“I thought it was absolutely disgraceful that so many Republicans voted to defund the NSA program, which has done so much to protect our country,” King said. “This is an isolationist streak that is in our party. It goes totally against the party of Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush. We are party of national defense, we’re a party who did so much to protect the country over the last few years.”

What the NSA program has to do with isolationism, King doesn’t say. But if there is anything that is going to keep the Libertarians from rising to dominance in the Republican party, it is the sense that they wish to take the GOP back to the days of Robert Taft and his brand of non-interventionist foreign policy. Taft opposed aid to the allies prior to our entrance into World War II. After the war, he opposed the US joining alliances such as NATO, opposed US participation in the UN, and generally felt that Fortress America, protected by the two great oceans, could afford us the security we needed.

It may be unfair to tar Libertarians with the isolationist moniker. Libertarians believe that our interventions have led to a growth in the national security state that threatens our liberties. They don’t like the UN or NATO any more than Taft did, but stop well short of advocating an American withdrawal from world affairs.

Indeed, in his riposte to Christie and King, Paul made it clear that while he recognizes who the enemy is (“I don’t mind spying on terrorists,” he said. “I just don’t like spying on all Americans.”), the overriding issue is Big Government:

“They’re precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending, and their ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme — give me all my Sandy money now.’” Paul said, referring to federal funding after the hurricane last year. “Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense.”

That, too, is an unfair criticism. While there was a lot of pork in that Sandy aid bill, the extent of the disaster was so profound that the feds had to step in and do it quickly.

Paul also believes the emphasis on curtailing the surveillance state resonates with the young:

“If you talk about some privacy issues like that, I think you will find youth coming to you,” said Paul, who said his own decision on whether to run for president won’t come until next year.

Ross Douthat also sees the rise of the Libertarian right as a generational issue:

Among younger activists and rising politicians, the American right has a plausible theory of what its role in our politics ought to be, and how it might advance the common good. What it lacks, for now, is the self-awareness to see how it falls short of its own ideal, and the creativity necessary to transform its self-conception into victory, governance, results.

The theory goes something like this: American politics is no longer best understood in the left-right terms that defined 20th-century debates. Rather, our landscape looks more like a much earlier phase in democracy’s development, when the division that mattered was between outsiders and insiders, the “country party” and the “court party.”

The vote last week to defund the NSA’s snooping programs is a good example. Rep. Amash, a Ron Paul disciple, cobbled together a coalition of Libertarian Republicans and Civil Liberty Democrats and almost shocked Washington. Such a coalition would collapse when the question of taxes or spending would be addressed, but for purposes of protecting basic American liberties, party lines disappeared — for one vote anyway.

Nevertheless, while the fractures between Libertarians and the Establishment may be most pronounced when it comes to national security, the real fight is over a philosophy of governance. Both sides may agree that government is too big but what happens when one side gives lip service to that idea and the other genuinely wants to do something about it? More traditional conservatives may argue that social spending and government agencies like the EPA need to be reigned in, but basic government functions cannot be eliminated. Libertarians want a rollback a large slice of the welfare state and actually reduce the size of government and the scope if its responsibilities. Whether that could actually be accomplished is unknown given the constituencies that have grown up around entitlements and departments like energy and education — both of which would be targeted for elimination in a Libertarian administration.

For purposes of this debate, details aren’t important. What matters is that the Libertarian right has found its voice and is making its presence felt in every corner of the Republican party. In so doing, it has made the “court party” very uncomfortable. However, it should be pointed out that the last two Establishment GOP presidential candidates have had fairly easy runs to the nomination, despite efforts by the Tea Party and its allies to stop them. Whether the Libertarians can convince the broad swath of self-identified Republicans to give them a chance remains to be seen.

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