Sanctions and Competition

Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Czech Republic have directly appealed to our Congressional leadership to expedite turning on the export spigot for our natural gas.  These four nations see the directness and immediacy of the advantage of buying natural gas from us rather than from the Russians.

Crimea and Sanctions on Russia

Promptly opening the export spigot on our own oil and gas production and accelerating our development of those fields, including on Federal land (which will have minimal production effect today; although it’ll have significant effect in the near- to mid-term by significantly expanding the supply of oil and gas on the global market) will produce an immediate spike down in the global price of oil and gas, which will have an associated immediate negative impact on the value of Russian oil and gas exports.

Blocking Russian access to credit on the global banking system—even just on the American banking system—and requiring cash-only transactions will have a negative impact on Russia’s cash reserves.

Obamacare Dissembling

The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will let people keep health insurance plans that would otherwise be out of compliance with ObamaCare for another two years….

Yet, just a bit over a year ago, when President Barack Obama first “waived” the Business Mandate, he threatened to veto a House bill that would have codified that delay and that added a comparable delay of the Individual Mandate—what he’s now “waiving” for those two years.

Obama vastly prefers diktat to legitimacy.

Administration…Foot-Dragging

Russian energy exports.  Ukraine, for instance, gets some 40%-50% of its natural gas from Russia, and Europe gets roughly 30% its natural gas from Russia.  Recall, just a few short years ago, too, the Russian extortion of cutting off those gas flows—in the middle of winter—over an alleged bill-paying (or not) scandal: it wasn’t those who supposedly weren’t paying the country’s gas bill who were harmed, though, it was the citizenry threatened with freezing temperatures in their own homes.  And as part of the Russian extortion, they cut off gas flows to Europe, too.

Speaking of Out of Touch

Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT) demonstrated the depth of his condition of out of touchness in a Tuesday op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.  Although Sanders’ out of touchness is amply demonstrated by his full-throated defense of the dinosaur that is the United States Postal Service, I want to look at a couple of other things he said in his piece.

First, there’s this:

There are very powerful and wealthy special interests who want to privatize or dismember virtually every function that government now performs, whether it is Social Security, Medicare, public education or the Postal Service.  They see an opportunity for Wall Street and corporate America to make billions in profits out of these services….

What Personal Data? It’s Government’s Data

And we don’t care about its security.

Security experts worried that 35 state health exchange websites were vulnerable to hackers and were rated as “high risk” for security problems before ObamaCare’s launch….

Fears that the health law’s websites could put consumers at risk have plagued the program’s rollout from the beginning, but the administration told The Associated Press that the documents offer only a partial and “outdated” snapshot of an improving situation.

Never mind that “improving” now doesn’t alter the fact that the security failures existed at the time of the rollout.  And HHS rolled out their ObamaMart, anyway.  For example:

Annals of Obamacare Lies

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is spouting more of them.  And with a straight face, too; it’s like she actually believes what she’s saying.  Which would be even worse.

There is absolutely no evidence and every economist will tell you this, that there is any job loss related to the Affordable Care Act.

Leaving aside the well-documented instances of reduced hours, delayed (or canceled) hiring, canceled plant expansions, and so on that are occurring as a direct result of Obamacare, Sebelius is having a negative impact on jobs with her own Departmental edicts.  She’s already ordered, for instance, the Obamacare-maximum allowed cuts to funding for home health care services.

“Pass the Bill…”

“…in order to see what’s in it….”

Here’s another of those tidbits that’s in it that Pelosi and her gang chose not to know about before passing Obamacare:

Tucked deep in the Affordable Care Act is language requiring all restaurants with at least 20 locations to list nutritional information alongside each and every item on their menu.

Sit-down restaurant chains, with their menus now required to be cluttered with “nutrition” information instead of letting their patrons see a readable menu—because Big Government knows better—are also faced, unfortunately, with a rapid-fire alteration of their menus as this “nutrition” information gets frequently “updated:” recall how rapidly the USDA’s food pyramid has been changing over the last several years.

Another Obamacare Health Plan

Senators Mark Begich (D, AK), whose reelection race this fall is in real trouble, and Mark Warner (D, VA), whose reelection race is much tighter than it should be, are pushing a new Health Plan for Obamacare.

…individuals and small businesses can buy so-called copper plans.  The plans likely would have lower premiums, but purchasers would pay more of their ordinary health costs upfront.

Copper plans would cover, on average, 50% of medical costs, and while consumers’ out-of-pocket expenses would still be capped, that limit likely would be higher than the $6,350 maximum for individuals and $12,700 for families currently set by the law.

Here Come the Insurance Company Bailouts

Humana is taking point on this one.  This from Dr Scott Gottlieb at AEIdeas:

Humana announced that it expects to tap the three risk adjustment mechanisms in Obamacare for between $250 and $450 million in 2014.  This amounts to about 25% of the insurer’s expected exchange revenue.  This money is needed to offset losses that the insurer will take as a result of slower enrollment in its Obamacare plans, and a skewed risk pool that weighs more heavily toward older and less healthy members than it originally budgeted.

And